The Mule Track

Catalogue number
  • Art.IWM ART 1153
Display status
IWM London
Production date
Subject period
  • medium: oil
  • support: canvas
  • Support: Height 609 mm
  • Support: Width 914 mm
  • Frame: Height 806 mm
  • Frame: Width 1106 mm
  • Frame: Depth 35 mm
Alternative Names
  • object category: painting

© IWM (Art.IWM ART 1153)

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Object description

image: The view across a battlefield undergoing heavy bombardment. The shattered landscape is disected by an angular duckboard path, along which a mule train is travelling, their small figues just visible in the distance. The animals rear and panic at a nearby explosion as the water from a flooded trench shoots up from the surface. In the sky there are large clouds of yellow and grey coloured smoke, with rubble flying high into the air in the foreground.


This work was a commission from the Ministry of Information and was listed as complete on 15 July 1918.


Paul Nash’s desolate landscapes are amongst the most iconic images of the Western Front. In The Mule Track Nash presents the viewer with a terrifying scene. Amidst the chaos of a heavy bombardment the small figures of a mule train are trying to cross the battlefield. They are reduced to defenceless puppets at the mercy of forces seemingly no longer man made. The animals rear and panic at nearby explosions, as the water in the flooded trenches wells up like geysers and rubble is thrown high into a sky obscured by large clouds of yellow and grey smoke.

History note

Ministry of Information commission, Scheme 3.


Paul Nash

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