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Lawrence, Alfred Kingsley

(1893 – 1975)

A Northumberland Fusilier, 1916

Chalk

17 4/5 x 14 3/4 in. (45.2 x 37.5 cm)

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
The Artist’s family

Lawrence volunteered for the Northumberland Fusiliers, and embarked for France in early 1916 as temporary Second Lieutenant of the 19th battalion. Between February and June, the company made their way towards the front line, stopping in Vielle-Chapelle and La Couture to build reserve trenches, repair existing ones, and carry out general field maintenance. But it was not until his battalion marched from their camp in Mailly Wood through No Man’s Land on 6 July 1916 that they witnessed the savagery of the Somme on its vastest scale. An account of the 19th battalion’s service, written by Captain CH Cooke and illustrated by Lawrence, recalled the ‘infinite tragedy’ of the scene, where tens of thousands of bodies ‘lay in shell-holes, in bits of trenches, but chiefly in the open’. It was ‘tragedy enough to sicken the most callous’. By July 15th 1916 the battalion was in Bray, awaiting orders for work in Trones Wood. The soldier in our sketch appears in another drawing by Lawrence, done on July 5th 1916 and inscribed ‘Le Bois de Trones’. Lawrence did not return home until March 1917, when he was posted to the IV Corps school in London as instructor, and upon discharge in 1919, continued his studies at the Royal College of Art.  

This portrait head is similar to that of one of the figures in Lawrences lost masterpiece The Altruists, first exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition, Wembley, 1924:

We are grateful to the Maas Gallery.

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THE ARTIST

Lawrence, Alfred Kingsley

1893 – 1975

Painter of pictures and murals and draughtsman, born in Lewes, Sussex. He studied at King Edward VII School of Art in Newcastle upon Tyne under Richard Hatton, at Royal College of Art with William Rothenstein and then in Italy as a Prix de Rome winner, 1923. Elected RA in 1938. Lawrence was a fine figure painter and a RA stalwart for many years, his work having a strong underlying draughtsmanship. Also showed RP of which he was a member and widely abroad. Among Lawrence’s notable murals are ones in Laing Art Gallery and Museum, Newcastle; Palace of Westminster; and Bank of England. Lived in London.

During WW1 Lawrence was in the Tyneside Pioneers, and according to Richard Dunning was in the front line 100 yards from Lochnagar when it was blown up. Given that the (unannounced) 27 ton explosion was heard and felt in Kew, it must have unnerved him considerably – fortunately the Pioneers were the only troops, out of 100,000, who didn’t go over the top on that day. Lawrences masterpiece, The Altruists, (first exhibited at British Empire Exhibition, Wembley, 1924, then British Pavilion, 1925 Paris and now lost) showing First World War soldiers and a selection of robed figures grouped on either side of a risen Christ, was his most ambitious serious attempt to sublimate his traumatic WW1 experiences.

With thanks to artbiogs.co.uk

MORE PICTURES BY ARTIST

Alfred Kingsley Lawrence
Still life with WW2 field instruments
£975.00
Alfred Kingsley Lawrence
Study for Persephone
£5,000.00
Alfred Kingsley Lawrence
Three-quarter Profile Portrait of a Young Girl with a Bob, Looking to her Left, circa 1925
£1,950.00
Alfred Kingsley Lawrence
First WW soldier with bandaged head, circa 197
£1,500.00
Alfred Kingsley Lawrence
Sergt. Pilot J.C. McWilliams, 1942
£4,750.00
Alfred Kingsley Lawrence
Rear view Spitfire
£4,400.00
Alfred Kingsley Lawrence
Allegory of Human Life, 1923
£28,500.00
Alfred Kingsley Lawrence
The British School at Rome, circa 1923
£6,500.00