Exhibition of First World War Paintings


The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds will be hosting a touring exhibition from Preston Park Museum titled Spence: The Art of War.

The series of watercolours were painted by Colonel Gilbert Ormerod Spence and depict his time spent in active service during the First World War between 1915 and 1918.

They will be displayed in the museum’s Tournament Gallery from Saturday 11 November until Sunday 29 April 2018, with more than thirty prints on display alongside original copies of Spence’s work.

Colonel Spence painted over one hundred watercolours during his time at the Front, illustrating life in battle and in rest for himself and his men. He led the 5th Durham Light Infantry Brigade through some of the most well-known conflicts of the First World War, including Ypres, the Somme, Arras, Passchendaele and his last battle at Estaires.

The paintings give a unique insight into the arms and armour of the First World War and the lives of soldiers at the Front. The Royal Armouries would like to extend its thanks to Preston Park Museum for allowing this remarkable collection of paintings to go on display at the museum in Leeds.

Commenting on the exhibition, Jonathan Ferguson, Curator of Firearms at the Royal Armouries, said: “We are grateful to be hosting such a significant selection of paintings from the First World War and would like to thank Preston Park Museum for this opportunity.

“Our collection includes a wide array of objects from the First World War, including the prototype of the iconic Maxim Machine Gun. Having bodies of work such as Colonel Spence’s on display gives important context to objects in our collection, giving visitors an opportunity to further understand the experience of life in times of war.”

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