The Harvest of Battle

Catalogue number
  • Art.IWM ART 1921
Art and Popular Design
Production date
Subject period
  • Support: canvas
  • medium: oil
  • Support: Height 1828 mm, Width 3175 mm
  • Frame: Depth 85 mm, Height 2150 mm, Width 3500 mm
  • whole: Weight 71 kg
Alternative names
  • object category: painting

© IWM (Art.IWM ART 1921)

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Object description

image: The aftermath of a battle showing a muddy and flooded battlefield. A long line of wounded men, some with limbs bandaged, men carrying their comrades, straggling from right to left. Corpses lie in and around water-filled shell holes. Artillery pieces can be seen firing to the right of the composition, with a heavy pall of smoke and flames over the target area.


This work was commissioned by the Ministry of Information for the Hall of Remembrance alongside Sargent's, 'Gassed'. Nevinson describes how he produced the sketches for this work during a trip to Passchendaele with a fellow officer: 'We arrived at Ypres, and while he went to the Officers' Club I wandered on up towards the Salient and obtained notes and rough sketches for my painting, 'Harvest of Battle'.' (CRW Nevinson, Paint and Prejudice, 1937) Nevinson provides his own description of this work in a letter to Alfred Yockney from the Ministry of Information on 11 June 1919: 'A typical scene after an offensive at dawn. Walking wounded, prisoners and stretcher cases are making their way to the rear through the water- logged country of Flanders. By now the Infantry have advanced behind the creeping barrage on the right, only leaving the dead, mud, & wire; but their former positions are now occupied by the Artillery. The enemy is sending up SOS signals and once more these shattered men will be subjected to counter-battery fire. British aeroplanes are spotting hostile positions.'

History note

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



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