The Cemetery, Etaples, 1919

Catalogue number
  • Art.IWM ART 2884
Art and Popular Design
Production date
Place made
Subject period
  • Support: canvas
  • medium: oil
  • Support: Height 524 mm, Width 722 mm
  • Frame: Depth 90 mm, Height 665 mm, Width 866 mm
Alternative names
  • object category: painting

© IWM (Art.IWM ART 2884)

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Object description

image: A view across the cemetery at Etaples showing the rows of simple crosses, tended by a group of women. In the background a steam train crosses a green landscape.


Etaples is a small town near the Normandy coast. During the First World War it was behind the lines and British troops were sent there for hospital treatment and recuperation. By the time Lavery got to France in 1919, many vast, though as yet informal, cemeteries were in existence, tended by the female staff of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in their brown working uniforms. Lavery was clearly moved by this view of the cemetery at Etaples. He has chosen the moment when a steam train rushes past in the distance, noisily intruding on the women standing among the graves, and a brutal reminder that life goes on regardless.

History note

Imperial War Museum Women's Work Section commission


J. Lavery

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