Ypres 1915 by Gilbert Rogers, courtesy of IWM North © IWM (Art.IWM ART 3792)

Historic First World War painting returns to public view after 90 years at IWM North in Manchester

Posted on centenarynews.com on 20 December 2013
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A restored painting depicting wounded soldiers at Ypres during the First World War is going on display for the first time in almost a century at the IWM North museum in the UK city of Manchester.

The huge canvas shows the Royal Army Medical Corps and the British Red Cross Society collecting and transporting British troops who were injured during the first Battle of Ypres in 1914.

It's the work of Gilbert Rogers, who was the lead artist commissioned in 1918 to produce works for the medical section of the newly formed Imperial War Museum.  

Graham Boxer, Director of IWM North, said:  "This stunning Rogers painting gives a reassuring image of quiet, well-ordered activity in Ypres, in contrast to the chaotic ruins in the background. 

"This powerful image of ordinary people in extraordinary times is a fitting way to begin a major programme of exhibitions, displays and events marking the First World War Centenary."  

Large canvases

Measuring more than 11 feet high and 15 feet wide (3.4 x 4.6 metres), Ypres 1915 was one of several large canvases displayed in IWM’s first home at the Crystal Palace in south London.  

It was a less than perfect environment for showing artworks. A leaky roof resulted in the paintings suffering water damage.  

They remained rolled for many years until the Imperial War Museum was able to fund their restoration in the late 1980s.

After being out of sight for 90 years, Gilbert Rogers' Ypres 1915 will be displayed outside the main exhibition space at IWM North, available for all to view for free.

IWM North, part of Imperial War Museums, holds a significant selection of paintings by Rogers, including the canvas Mud, which is also on display there.

Rogers was primarily a portrait painter who studied at the Liverpool City School of Art and exhibited before the war at the Royal Academy.

Next year, IWM North will host the largest exhibition ever created exploring the role of the North West of England during the First World War. "From Street To Trench: A War that Shaped a Region" will open on 5th April 2014.

Source: IWM North

Date of press release publication: December 2013

Images courtesy of IWM North © IWM (Art.IWM ART 3792)

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News