Representations of the veteran
in Images of the army
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Artists who painted veterans for Academy pictures in the nineteenth century followed the lead of civil and military authorities in giving the Chelsea Hospital pensioners undue prominence. Duke of Wellington's selection of Chelsea veterans was crucial in focusing on a group who were 'known' to be patriotic and loyal. In the aftermath of the Crimean war, with the Volunteer movement, the common soldier had become a humble hero rather than a social outcast in bourgeois mythology. Military commentators writing in the last decades of the century were unanimous that the change which had taken place in civil-military relations after 1860 could be attributed to the Volunteer movement. Post-Crimean representations of veterans away from the Chelsea Hospital were for the most part very positive, showing the old soldier enjoying domestic prosperity and happiness.

Images of the army

The military in British art, 1815-1914


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