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Big Guns to the Front

KEMP-WELCH, Lucy Elizabeth (1869 - 1958)

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Media: oil on board

Size: 198.0 x 381.0 cm

Acquired: 1921; Purchase

Accession Number: NMW A 4939

Lucy Kemp Welch was born in Bournemouth and made a reputation as a horse painter. Lucy studied under Herkomer at Bushey. She was eager to pursue a role as a war artist during the First World War but encountered much rejection due to the fact that she was female. An early poster she produced for the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee did however become very popular. Although the cavalry were fast becoming outmoded, horses remained important for hauling guns and supplies and maintaining communications in the worst conditions. Her best known painting was Forward the Guns which she painted in situ on Salisbury Plain using a large box to protect the canvas. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1917. The success of that picture encouraged her to embark on this large canvas. She observed the Royal Artillery training at Morn Camp, Magdon Hill and the Punchbowl near Winchester and decided to set this scene in the snow. Big Guns to the Front received great acclaim when she exhibited it at the 1918 Royal Academy. In 1921, Big Guns to the Front, was sold to the National Museum of Wales for £840 from the War Pictures Fund. It had to be stored because the main building was still under construction. In 1927 it was put on display until World War II and in 1959 placed on lang term loan to the Cardiff and County Club. It has recently returned and following conservation treatment, hangs again in the main entrance hall.


keith mcdonald
17 September 2016, 17:39
i have a origonal signed print around 1930 for sale
Kate Tomlinson
10 January 2012, 10:59
Would love to come and see this painting; we possess a water colour sketch for it painted in 1918 and signed by the artist which probably came into the family via my partner's grandfather the literary agent, Clement Shorter, a contemporary of the artist.
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