Paintings on display as part of the war horse exhibition

Your horse belongs to the army now – part one

The popularity of Michael Morpurgo’s book War Horse, the success of the stage adaptation and now the release of Steven Spielberg’s film has brought the role horses played in the First World War to the public’s attention.

Joey, the main ‘character’ of War Horse, belongs to Albert, the young son of a farmer.  He is sold by the father, to a Remount Purchasing Officer on behalf of Captain Nicholls.  Later, Captain Nicholls reassures Albert that Joey will be looked after, even though “your horse belongs to the army now”.Paintings on display as part of the war horse exhibition

In the RCVS archives there are two paintings of the heads of horses that were acquired by the Army Remount Service, the department that purchased horses for the army, during First World War.  The two horses spent time at Romsey Remount Depot during 1916, where they were painted by Lionel Dalhousie Robertson Edwards (1878-1966).  Edwards served as a Remount Purchasing Officer in World War One and was to become a well known sporting artist in later life.

The depiction of Joey’s purchase by the army in War Horse could give the impression that the acquisition of horses for the war effort was a small scale operation – in fact nothing could be further from the truth.

For our next post, we’ll be delving into the requisitioning of horses during the First World War and the history of Romsey Remount Depot, where Edwards served, and its veterinary hospital

The two paintings, along with other items connected with the role of horses in war, are currently on display in the Library.  Why not come and see them and combine it with a trip to the excellent exhibition War Horse: fact and fiction at the National Army Museum?

Image: Paintings on display in the library

2 replies

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] are a number of interesting veterinary connections amongst the paintings.  We have loaned two paintings by Lionel Edwards .  Born in Bristol in 1878, Edwards was one of the most popular illustrators of hunting and […]

  2. […] would appear from the inscriptions on the paintings by Lionel Edwards that featured in our  earlier post at least one of these horses spent some time receiving veterinary treatment at Romsey as the […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *