Art, Architecture and Visual Culture

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Edited by: J.W.M. Hichberger

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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Edited by: J.W.M. Hichberger

In an age when engraving and photography were making artistic images available to a much wider public, artists were able to influence public attitudes more powerfully than ever before. This book examines works of art on military themes in relation to ruling-class ideologies about the army, war and the empire. The first part of the book is devoted to a chronological survey of battle painting, integrated with a study of contemporary military and political history. The chapters link the debate over the status and importance of battle painting to contemporary debates over the role of the army and its function at home and abroad. The second part discusses the intersection of ideologies about the army and military art, but is concerned with an examination of genre representations of soldiers. Another important theme which runs through the book is the relation of English to French military art. During the first eighty years of the period under review France was the cynosure of military artists, the school against which British critics measured their own, and the place from which innovations were imported and modified. In every generation after Waterloo battle painters visited France and often trained there. The book shows that military art, or the 'absence' of it, was one of the ways in which nationalist commentators articulated Britain's moral superiority. The final theme which underlies much of the book is the shifts which took place in the perception of heroes and hero-worship.

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Edited by: J.W.M. Hichberger

The large number of battle paintings exhibited at the Royal Academy during the period 1874-1914 makes it impossible to account here for the genesis of more than a few. This chapter examines the paintings inspired by the Zulu war of 1879-1880. The Zulu war was regarded as the most important of the colonial wars up to the Sudan campaign in 1883-1884. Frederick Villiers exhibited two battle paintings at the Royal Academy, in 1882 and 1883, so far as is known his only excursions into academic art, both now lost. The first was based on the Afghan war of 1878-1880, which he had covered for The Graphic. The second seems, however, to have been a battle scene, Fighting Arabi with his own Weapons: Tel-el-Kebir. Villiers became a well known personality in the late Victorian newspaper industry. Late Victorian battle painters manipulated a number of stock characters.

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Edited by: J.W.M. Hichberger

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Kent Fedorowich

The outbreak of First World War effectively ended imperial migration for the next five years. Post-war imperial migration was not regarded as a major issue by the imperial government until the summer of 1916, but thereafter its close association with post-war reconstruction made it an increasingly important matter. Moreover, the failure of the British government to launch a successful domestic colonisation scheme had a direct bearing on the implementation of the empire migration project. The period between 1919 and 1922 proved to be a crucial one for constructive imperialists throughout the empire. The task of assisting ex-servicemen was a completely separate matter, according to Leo Amery when he first took office in January. Amery's immediate aim was to frame a new emigration bill which would enhance imperial unity, contribute to the economic well being of the empire and offset the fiasco of Long's ill-conceived 1918 Emigration Bill.

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Edited by: J.W.M. Hichberger

The period from 1874, the year of the Ashanti expedition, until 1914 saw a dramatic increase in the number of battle paintings displayed at public exhibitions. Many commentators at the time reflecting on the upsurge in the popularity of the genre, attributed it to the influence of one artist, Elizabeth Thompson, Lady Butler. The few nonfeminist authors who have examined Butler's career have sought confirmation of crude jingoism in bourgeois ideology in High Victorian England. Elizabeth Butler regarded her own work as an antidote to the 'disease of the 'Aesthetes' whose 'sometimes unwholesome productions' she saw at the Grosvenor Gallery. The absence of violence in her paintings was a deliberate strategy, designed to accommodate the conflicting ideologies of anti-imperialism and pacificm as well as patriotism and militarism. Some strands of anti-imperialist thought were linked with pacifism and anti-militarism.

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Edited by: J.W.M. Hichberger

This chapter considers the meeting point between the civilian and military worlds. An examination of the representation of the military and civilians in Academy painting in the nineteenth century reveals a marked difference between works produced either side of the dividing era 1854-1865. In tune with the increasingly pervasive bourgeois ideology, domestic representations of the soldier occupied a higher percentage of images in the post-Crimean era. Representations of soldiers and women at the Royal Academy (RA) in the post-Crimean era could not therefore allow any ambiguity surrounding the relation of a soldier to a woman for fear of being thought to allude to prostitution. Military structures and indeed policy were dedicated to the preservation of a rootless, unmarried private soldier. In the pre-Crimean Army it was virtually impossible for a soldier to retain any links with home or community.

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Edited by: J.W.M. Hichberger

The Crimean war was a watershed in civil-military relations. With the outbreak of the Crimean war Thomas Jones Barker began to produce more military subjects, perhaps hoping, as did Henry Selous, that the war would result in patronage for military pictures. At the outbreak of the war the astute Ernest Gambart commissioned Edward Armitage to go to the Crimea and produce two oil paintings which could be engraved and mass-produced. Armitage's two battle paintings, Inkermann and Balaclava, were exhibited in Gambart's Pall Mall Gallery in 1856, just after the close of hostilities. They formed part of a 'Crimean exhibition' designed to appeal to a public patriotically celebrating the peace and congratulating themselves on victory. Large-scale battle painting did enjoy a revival in the Crimean period, though outside the Academic or state systems.

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Conclusion

Foredoomed to failure?

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Kent Fedorowich

In a survey of the British government's migration policy conducted in 1930, the Overseas Settlement Department concluded that assisted migration since World War I had been 'fostered largely for social and political reasons. Britain's free passage scheme for ex-service personnel provides another illustration of the gulf between imperial expectations and actual results. The underlying problem, was the neo-mercantilist rationale behind imperial soldier settlement. Economic factors aside, the failure to establish a landed imperial yeomanry was in part attributable to the growth of a 'sturdy' dominion nationalism. The depression of 1929-33 effectively ended assisted migration to the dominions. Throughout the 1930s and indeed during World War II, the political issues raised by imperial migration, particularly vis-a-vis the white dominions, remained central to British policy making. South Africa was a unique case because of the political sensitivity of both the immigration and land settlement issues.

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Australia and New Zealand

The failure of the Anzac legend

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Kent Fedorowich

Land settlement had always been an integral part of the Australian experience and a necessary feature of state politics. During World War I a new legend and tradition emerged which not only paralleled the agrarian myth and the yeoman ideal but shared some of their salient features. The 'Anzac' legend or 'digger' tradition was created during the unsuccessful Gallipoli campaign. The cross-fertilisation of the outback, yeoman and Anzac traditions had important political implications during the post-war era. The most patriotic and 'British' of the dominions, New Zealand was the first dominion to initiate and enact soldier settlement legislation in October 1915. The immigration agreement of 1920 was a victory for Hughes in his battle with the states over control of immigration policy. Land settlement was a prominent feature of party politics in New Zealand, and after World War I was seen as an indispensable component of its reconstruction strategy.