First World War - War in the Air

Study for The Cenotaph

Fair Use

All Rights Reserved except for Fair Dealing exceptions otherwise permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

Catalogue number
  • Art.IWM ART 16377 3
Production date
1919-07-01
Subject period
Materials
  • medium: Pencil
  • medium: ink
  • support: paper
Dimensions
  • Support: Height 127 mm
  • Support: Width 94 mm
  • Frame: Height 496 mm
  • Frame: Width 400 mm
  • Frame: Depth 35 mm
  • backing: Height 170 mm
  • backing: Width 135 mm
Alternative Names
  • object category: drawing
Creator
Category
art
Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund, 1990

Object description

image: A sketch of the proposed design for the cenotaph with explanatory notes. text: The catafalky (sic) as it will appear in Whitehall if Lord Curzon finally agrees to it. Sir T Baines of the office of works asked McNed to design it for them, as they were quite at a loss to know what to do. [July 1919, inscription written by Lady Sackville, with arrows indicating flag, wreath, flags, soldier, soldier with reversed arms.] image verso: The drawing of a Chicken. text verso: La poule intrigeant et Bux homme

Label

Lutyens was first approached informally by Sir Alfred Mond, First Commissioner of Works in Lloyd George’s government in June 1919, to design a monument to mark the signing of the Peace Treaty. Following discussions with Clemenceau and the Peace Celebrations Committee, Lloyd George met Lutyens in early July 1919 and asked him to design a catafalque for Whitehall, to be part of the Peace Day events on 19th July. Lutyens’ alternative suggestion of a cenotaph was agreed. Later that day Lutyens presented drawings to Sir Frank Baines, based on his previous design for Mond. These sketches were drawn over dinner with Lady Sackville in the evening, and annotated by her. The final design was based on measurements of the Parthenon. In the classical manner, all the surfaces were subtly curved; the verticals would meet at a point 1000 feet above the ground and the horizontals, 900 feet to the side. Stripped of all literal elements (at Lutyens' insistence four soldiers at the base were not included), the simplicity and dignity of the monument became the immediate focus for national grief. The wood and plaster structure was unveiled on 18th July and was originally intended to stand for a week. Its extraordinary popularity extended this to January 1920 when the weather finally forced its removal. In the meantime a slightly revised design was accepted by the Cabinet for a permanent memorial, again sited in Whitehall and unveiled on Armistice Day, 1920. The Cenotaph remains the central focus of remembrance.

Inscription

July 1919, inscription written by Lady Sackville, with arrows indicating flag, wreath, flags, soldier, soldier with reversed arms. The catafalky (sic) as it will appear in Whitehall if Lord Curzon finally agrees to it. Sir T Baines of the office of works asked McNed to design it for them, as they were quite at a loss to know what to do.

Inscription

La poule intrigeant et Bux homme

Associated history pages

Associated people and organisations

Associated places

Associated keywords

Comments (0)

Comments are the user's own and in no-way express the opinion of the IWM. Read our community policy for more details.

Add a comment

Add a comment

Please stay polite and on-topic: