Sketch for Spring in the Trenches (IWM ART 1154)

Catalogue number
  • Art.IWM ART 2491
Art and Popular Design
Production date
Subject period
  • Support: paper
  • medium: Watercolour
  • medium: ink
  • Support: Height 141 mm, Width 110 mm
  • Frame: Depth 32, Height 588, Width 432
  • Mount: Height 556 mm, Width 407 mm
Alternative names
  • object category: drawing

© IWM (Art.IWM ART 2491)

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Object description

image: three British soldiers waiting outside the entrance to a trench dugout within a small wood. One soldier stands looking out over the top of the trench, watching a shell explosion in the distance. The other two sit and lean against the sides of the trench, their heads bent beneath their helmets as though sleeping.


This work is a sketch for 'Spring in the trenches' (IWM ART 1154). The work was a commission from the Ministry of Information listed as complete on 15 July 1918. Nash appears to have disliked the picture as he asked the Imperial War Museum not to lend it to his 1943 Leeds Retrospective. In a letter to his wife on 7 March 1917, Nash describes a wood on the way to the frontline trenches: ' a wood passed through on our way up, a place with an evil name, pitted and pocked with shells the trees torn to shreds, often reeking with poison gas - a most desolate ruinous place two months back, today it was a vivid green; the most broken trees even had sprouted somewhere in the midst, from the depth of the wood's bruised heart poured out the throbbing song of a nightingale. Ridiculous, mad incongruity!'

History note

Ministry of Information commission, Scheme 3. Commission administration transferred to Imperial War Museum

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