This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in this book. The book explores in greater detail the issue of soldier settlement. It examines two parallel but complementary themes: the settlement of British soldiers in the overseas or 'white' dominions between 1915 and 1930. The war galvanised the British government into committing itself to a large-scale free passage scheme for its ex-service personnel between 1914 and 1922. The book focuses on the resettlement of British ex-servicemen overseas in the post-World War I era. The internal tensions and debates within the higher echelons of the respective bureaucracies and the changes in attitude and policy formulation that resulted have attracted equally sparse attention. The book addresses the issues and reveals how soldier settlement became a vehicle for a new era in empire co-operation and economic development.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines oil paintings on military subjects exhibited at public metropolitan venues in the century 1815-1916. It also examines works of art on military themes in relation to ruling-class ideologies about the army, war and the empire. The book also presents a chronological survey of battle painting, integrated with a study of contemporary military and political history. It discusses the intersection of ideologies about the army and military art and concerns with an examination of genre representations of soldiers. The book describes the relation of English to French military art. It attempts to chart the process of transformation in the images of the army and its soldiers from Waterloo to the eve of the Great War.
Soldier settlement remained an important supplement to the dominion government's predominant and traditional role in settling and developing the agricultural resources of western Canada. The urgency with which Canadian politicians and civil servants viewed the problem of continuing rural depopulation, and the seriousness with which they viewed soldier settlement as a partial solution, was echoed by Henry Scammell. Rider Haggard's tour captured the public's imagination and turned what was simply a fact finding mission into a tremendous public relations victory for the Royal Colonial Institute (RCI) over an intransigent British government. The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) took the opportunity of Haggard's visit to disclose its plans to provide agriculture farms on its extensive holdings in western Canada for returning veterans from Canada and Britain. Ontario became the first province to respond with a land settlement scheme for returned soldiers in February 1917.
The Crimean war was used as evidence of the aristocracy's 'unfitness' to rule the army. The British painter Louis William Desanges was important, as Thomas Jones Barker had been, in assimilating French military art into British subject matter. Desanges working for a middle-class audience, transformed middle class gentlemen into 'god-like' military heroes. Desanges' intention was to depict the incidents which had won the Victoria Cross for its holders. The inability of either Barker or Desanges to gain admittance to the Royal Academy suggests that there was still resistance to their genre at a number of levels. Desanges was an aspirant History painter, competing unsuccessfully in the Westminster Hall competition. The deficiencies of various strands of battle painting had been identified in the context of the Palace of Westminster competitions. In Academic art, representations of the rebellion in genre scenes outnumbered battle paintings.
This chapter focuses on to the colonial and imperial soldier settlement programmes in Canada and South Africa prior to 1914, since their experiences provide the most numerous and detailed accounts of soldier settlement policy. The seigneurial system provided a systematic approach to colonisation in New France along feudal guidelines imposed from Versailles. In the years prior to the War of 1812 a large number of Americans, other than Loyalists, migrated north and settled in southern Ontario. The increasing interest in the welfare of the ex-soldier, army pensioner and reservist evident in Britain between 1900 and 1914 stemmed from the experience of the second Anglo-Boer War. The Naval and Military Emigration League (NMEL), founded in November 1909, was the only British emigration society which dealt exclusively with former military personnel. The general aim of the NMEL was to furnish ex-servicemen with information about employment and settlement opportunities in the dominions.
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.
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.
Before 1914 Canada's national immigration policy was based on an economic strategy designed to develop its primary resource sector. The emphasis on agriculture and Ottawa's firm control over all aspects of immigration, colonisation and settlement ensured the pursuit of a consistent economic development policy. Dr A. M. Forbes argued that a policy of agricultural reconstruction based upon the resettlement of returning veterans would do more to stabilise Canadian society than any other reconstruction policy. The 1917 Act had restricted the soldiers' choice to dominion land in western Canada. In May 1919, Arthur Meighen introduced the new legislation which contained a number of changes to make the scheme more attractive and thus induce more men to settle. The appointment of Lieutenant-Colonel K. C. Bedson as the Soldier Settlement Board's (SSB's) overseas representative in February 1919 coincided with Sir Alfred Milner's reconstitution of the Oversea Settlement Committee (OSC).
Research on soldier settlement has to be set within the wider history of emigration and immigration. This book examines two parallel but complementary themes: the settlement of British soldiers in the overseas or 'white' dominions, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, between 1915 and 1930. One must place soldier settlement within the larger context of imperial migration prior to 1914 in order to elicit the changes in attitude and policy which occurred after the armistice. The book discusses the changes to Anglo-dominion relations that were consequent upon the incorporation of British ex-service personnel into several overseas soldier settlement programmes, and unravels the responses of the dominion governments to such programmes. For instance, Canadians and Australians complained about the number of ex-imperials who arrived physically unfit and unable to undertake employment of any kind. The First World War made the British government to commit itself to a free passage scheme for its ex-service personnel between 1914 and 1922. The efforts of men such as L. S. Amery who attempted to establish a landed imperial yeomanry overseas is described. Anglicisation was revived in South Africa after the second Anglo-Boer War, and politicisation of the country's soldier settlement was an integral part of the larger debate on British immigration to South Africa. The Australian experience of resettling ex-servicemen on the land after World War I came at a great social and financial cost, and New Zealand's disappointing results demonstrated the nation's vulnerability to outside economic factors.
The Palace of Westminster competition was significant in the history of British battle painting. French battle painting was very much in the minds of British painters and critics during the period of the Westminster project. The three painters, Sir William Allan, Thomas Sidney Cooper and Edward Armitage, are considered individually, since their career patterns and choice of pictoral sources indicate the range of practitioners of the battle painting genre in the early 1840s. The reviews of their pictures suggest that the Westminster Hall competition should be considered in the context of the continuing dispute about the existence and nature of the 'English school'. The only battle picture to win a premium in the Westminster Hall competition was perceived by many critics to belong to the tradition of history painting.