Imperial War Museum Art Gallery

Lambeth Road, south of the River Thames, 10 minutes walk from Elephant and Castle Station. Almost directly opposite may be seen, incidentally, the former house of Captain Bligh (the mutiny on the Bounty).

The Imperial War Museum covers the period from World War I onwards, and therefore the artworks are of a rather later date than most of the material described in these pages. There is a good painting collection, by Official War Artists and others, both in the top floor art gallery, and scattered throughout the Museum where appropriate. The pride of the collection is the John Singer Sargent room, which contains about ten small watercolours and the enormous oil painting Gassed (1918), a 20ft canvas which shows soldiers after a gas attack. Sargent was accompanied on his 1918 trip to France by the painter Henry Tonks, and representative work by him is also in the collection. George Clausen is another of the earlier school of painters in the gallery, and has both small, intimate paintings of rural life and monumental works such as Youth Mourning, an allegorical painting of a naked figure in a barren landscape. By Charles Sims is Clio and the Children, a good figures-in-a-landscape picture, with the figures in contemporary dress. From this period we may also mention the several grim pictures by William Orpen.

From World War II, there are lots of paintings by John Nash, and looking at his war art gives an interesting perception of this painter. Laura Knight has Ruby Loftus Screwing a Breech Ring (1943), and there is an evocative Rationing - Queue at the Fish Shop by Evelyn Dunbar (1906-60). The sculpture collection includes several portrait heads by Epstein (see the Modern Sculptors page).

As mentioned above, there are various paintings scattered through the various galleries of the Museum. As well, the collection is particularly strong in poster art, and much famous imagery of the two World Wars may be seen there.

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