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One of the most famous paintings in City Hall is ‘Attack by the Ulster Division 1st July 1916’. Well known for his depictions of historical and military scenes, it was painted by the English artist James Prinsep Beadle. It commemorates the Battle of the Somme, one of the largest battles of the First World War, in which more than 1,000,000 men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history. The huge sacrifice of Irish soldiers particularly has led to this painting being considered a tribute to the courage and sacrifice of the many young local men who fell.
First exhibited in the Royal Academy in London in 1917, the painting was later presented to the then Lord Mayor of Belfast Alderman James Johnston on 1st July 1918, the 2nd anniversary of the battle, as a gift to the citizens of Belfast from the Ulster Volunteers. Now hanging outside the Lord Mayor’s Parlour, the painting can be seen during one of the daily tours City Hall.
oil on canvas
H 135 x W 210 cm (E)