The imperial crisis
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The period 1885-1914 was the most prolific time for the production of battle paintings and other celebrations of the military glory of the empire. Despite the large numbers of 'eye-witness' artists who were rushed to the front to 'record' the Boer War, the battle pictures which resulted were traditional in their selection of subject and method of representation. The Boer war can be considered the final break between the 'sporting', self-confident attitude of the early imperial era and the growing sense of grim struggle. During the Boer war Elizabeth Butler turned back for her subject matter to the Crimea, the last time the British had fought a full-scale war against an army of the same race. It is usual to see the second Boer war as the point at which British attitudes hardened into the jingoism that led to the First World War.

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Images of the army

The military in British art, 1815-1914


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