Marching Men, 1916

Catalogue number
  • Art.IWM ART 5218
Art and Popular Design
Production date
Subject period
  • Frame: wood
  • Frame: perspex
  • Support: paper
  • Mount: board
  • medium: pastel
  • Frame: Depth 29 mm, Height 450 mm, Width 602 mm
  • Support: Height 201 mm, Width 260 mm
  • Mount: Height 407 mm, Width 557 mm
Alternative names
  • object category: drawing
Gift of Fulham Borough Council, 1961

© IWM (Art.IWM ART 5218)

Object description

image: a view of a column of French infantry marching swiftly. They are distinctive in their red trousers, blue tunics and peaked kepis.


The body of inseparable, marching soldiers, grimly driving and being driven on, was a theme Nevinson explored under various titles in oil, drypoint, pastel, charcoal and, in an illustration in ‘Blast’, either pen and ink or woodcut. Clearly, he believed he was describing an essential aspect of the War as he had witnessed it. Although there is no obvious force that moves them on – legs and arms are reduced to blurs – equally there is no means of escape or let-up. The contrast with the happy marching men of contemporary recruiting posters is striking and emphasizes the dread of Nevinson’s imagery.


This work is a pastel version of 'Returning to the Trenches', and was produced two years later. The change in title removes both the destination and the purpose of the exercise, de-humanising the action. Nevinson continued to develop the theme of marching men in a variety of media throughout the War.

Physical description

Framed and mounted pastel drawing.


C.R.W. Nevinson

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