Recruitment, enlisting and desertion
in Images of the army
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This chapter discusses four pictures which represents the ruling-class attitudes to different aspects of the topic. The pictures include the entrapment of a young innocent into the ranks, the impact upon his family, the reasons for enlistment and its impact upon a love affair. The occurrence of recruitment pictures at the Royal Academy shows that they were, as might have been expected, most likely to appear at times of intense military activity. Unlike recruitment pictures, the deserter pictures occurrence, prior to 1870, does not tie in with surges of military activity. Post-Crimean/Reform era treatment of desertion had to accommodate the new mythology of the soldiers as hero, the deserter must be shown as delinquent in some way or as driven by reasons which overrode military law. The William Henry Gore's picture Listed was deliberately anachronistic: enlistment is denoted by ribbons in his hat.

Images of the army

The military in British art, 1815-1914




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