At the outbreak of the First World War, Paul Nash, a prominent artist, gave up painting and enlisted in the Artists Rifles, eventually fighting with the Hampshire Regiment.
Members of the Artists Rifles regiment came from a host of artistic backgrounds - painters, poets, actors, architects. Early membership was a who's who of the Victorian art world: Burne Jones, Rossetti, Millais, Leighton and Holman Hunt. The First World War saw a new stream of creative people join its ranks: Frank Dobson, Charles Jagger, Wilfred Owen, Edward Thomas and John Nash who went 'over the top' with the regiment in 1917.
The exhibition will present an impressive shortlist of artists, spanning over 80 years of membership of the regiment, with a special literature-linked spoken word film commission. The exhibition will look at the artists, the art they produced and the regiment itself so will also feature Artists Rifles loaned objects such as costume and memorabilia.
Capitalising on the strengths of the collections within the partnership, the exhibition will showcase selected works from Southampton City Art Gallery, which holds work by John Everett Millais, Holman Hunt, Paul Nash, John Nash and John Lavery. In addition, loans will be arriving from the Imperial War Museum, British Council Collection, the Royal Academy, the Arts Council and many more regional and national institutions.