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This is another of our Art Snap curations here on ArtUK. This curation is also available as a video with commentary by our Collections and Exhibitions Officer, Katie Ackrill. Head over to the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery YouTube channel to watch the video.
In this curation, titled 'Conflict’, we're taking a look at artworks which delve into the themes of conflict, and how artworks respond to these times of conflict. We will be viewing pieces from artists who have encountered conflict firsthand.

Artists featured in this Curation: Augustus Edwin John (1878–1961) and Leslie Cole (1910–1976)
2 artworks


Canadian Soldiers
© the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Museum & Art Swindon

Canadian Soldiers

This is a wonderful piece of work by John in Swindon’s collection, and was created during the First World War, when Augustus volunteered to contribute work to an art collection memorialising Canada’s war effort. Since he was unable to pass the army’s medical, this work gave him the opportunity to see the action on the Western Front. The setting is the occupied territory of Liven in Belgium, where John discovered a bombed-out church which had been converted into a battery by Canadian soldiers. He described a completely devastated town, with a few battered churches, slagheaps of coalmines, and the occasional exploding shell. Augustus has captured all these details using a variety of swift marks in black ink.

Canadian Soldiers 1917–1918
Augustus Edwin John (1878–1961)
Black ink on paper
H 25.4 x W 39.3 cm
Museum & Art Swindon


Mary (Young Girl with a Doll)
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Museum & Art Swindon

Mary (Young Girl with a Doll)

This painting depicts a young girl wearing a shabby nightgown, alone and in ambiguous surroundings and clutching tightly the arm of a doll which hangs at her side. It is beautifully painted, with the light falling on her face, throwing one half into shadow and illuminating the other. And Cole has handled the paint in an almost impressionistic way, capturing the girl and her minimal surroundings with swiftly applied layers of paint so that her presence is almost quite transient.
Cole doesn’t offer much information about who or where she is, and it seems to be more about the mood or atmosphere she exudes. As in many of Cole’s post-war portraits, Mary projects a great sense of melancholy.

Mary (Young Girl with a Doll) 1946
Leslie Cole (1910–1976)
Oil on canvas
H 42.7 x W 27.4 cm
Museum & Art Swindon

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