Fraud Blocker Skip to main content

Home > Europe > United Kingdom > England > London > Boroughs > Enfield

Our ?Little Contemptibles?, 1914

Our ?Little Contemptibles?, 1914


Canvas Prints
Fine Art Prints
Metal Prints
Home Decor


We accept all major credit cards

Mary Evans Prints Online

Mary Evans Picture Library Photo Prints and Wall Art

Our ?Little Contemptibles?, 1914

Our ?Little Contemptibles?, 1914.Oil on canvas by William Barns Wollen (1857-1936), 1918 (c); exhibited at the Royal Academy 1918 (No 260).Composed of regular soldiers and reservists, the British Expeditionary Force landed on the Continent in August in 1914. During the early months of World War One (1914-1918) it was engaged in slowing down the German advance. This painting depicts open warfare with British infantry wearing large packs, taking cover behind a hedge; German artillery in the distance. The British Army?s experiences in the Boer War (1899-1902) had resulted in major reforms in organization, administration, tactics, weapons and equipment. Introduced in 1906, the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield rifle, shown in this painting, enabled troops to produce very rapid, accurate fire. Infantry training now placed more emphasis on the ability to shoot straight and fast, and on mobility. These professional soldiers, drilled in new methods of attack, defence, and withdrawal, were taught to take greater advantage of cover.The title of the canvas relates to an order given by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany (1859 -1941) to the commander of his First Army, Alexander von Kluck (1846-1934), in August, 1914:- ?It is my Royal and Imperial Command that you concentrate your energies? and all the valour of my soldiers to exterminate first the treacherous English; walk over General Frenchs insignificant [or contemptible] little Army. In fact the German advance was checked, and the men of the British and Indian Expeditionary Forces who survived these heavy engagements proudly adopted the ironic title, ?The Old Contemptibles?. These men who served between the outbreak of war and midnight on 22 November 1914 were awarded the 1914 Star.In the 1880s, the artist, William Barns Wollen, served in the 20th (Artists?) Volunteer Battalion, The Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort?s Own), popularly known as the Artists? Rifles. Date: 1914

Mary Evans Picture Library makes available wonderful images created for people to enjoy over the centuries

Media ID 14395088

© The National Army Museum / Mary Evans Picture Library

1857 Academy Barns Composed Contemptibles Continent Exhibited Expeditionary Landed Months Regular Reservists Wollen 1936


FEATURES IN THESE COLLECTIONS

> Animals > Mammals > Cercopithecidae > Drill

> Arts > Artists > A > William Alexander

> Arts > Artists > L > William Lee

> Arts > Artists > Related Images

> Arts > Fine Art

> Arts > Literature > Magazines

> Europe > France > Military

> Europe > France > Paintings

> Europe > United Kingdom > England > London > Boroughs > Enfield

> Europe > United Kingdom > England > London > Sights > British Museum


EDITORS COMMENTS
Our 'Little Contemptibles': A Testament to British Resilience in the Early Months of World War One William Barns Wollen's oil painting, 'Our 'Little Contemptibles' (1918), captures a pivotal moment in the early history of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) during World War One. The painting depicts British infantry taking cover behind a hedge as German artillery fires in the distance. This scene represents the slowing down of the German advance during the opening months of the war. The BEF, comprised of regular soldiers and reservists, had landed on the Continent in August 1914. Their experiences in the Boer War had led to significant reforms in organization, administration, tactics, weapons, and equipment. The introduction of the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield rifle in 1906 allowed for rapid, accurate fire, while infantry training emphasized shooting skills and mobility. The title of the painting refers to an order given by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany to his First Army commander, Alexander von Kluck, in August 1914: "It is my Royal and Imperial Command that you concentrate your energies and all the valour of my soldiers to exterminate first the treacherous English; walk over General French's insignificant [or contemptible] little Army." However, the German advance was checked, and the British and Indian forces who survived these heavy engagements proudly adopted the ironic title, 'The Old Contemptibles.' These soldiers, who served between the outbreak of war and midnight on 22 November 1914, were later awarded the 1914 Star. William Barns Wollen, who served in the 20th (Artists?) Volunteer Battalion, The Rifle Brigade in the 1880s, masterfully captures the spirit and determination of these soldiers in this powerful and poignant painting.

MADE IN THE USA
Safe Shipping with 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

FREE PERSONALISATION*
We are proud to offer a range of customisation features including Personalised Captions, Color Filters and Picture Zoom Tools

SECURE PAYMENTS
We happily accept a wide range of payment options so you can pay for the things you need in the way that is most convenient for you

* Options may vary by product and licensing agreement. Zoomed Pictures can be adjusted in the Basket.



redeem
Beautiful Photo Prints and Gifts
image
Professionally Printed
inventory
Photo Prints are in stock
thumb_up
Professional quality finish
diamond
Made with high-grade materials
inventory_2
Carefully packed to aid safe arrival



Related Images


West Yorkshire Regiment
West Yorkshire Regiment
Rifle Brigade in position, Western Front - WWI
Rifle Brigade in position, Western Front - WWI
Infantryman, WW1 Rifle Brigade Memorial
Infantryman, WW1 Rifle Brigade Memorial
A Night Patrol just leaving their trench
A Night Patrol just leaving their trench
Man of 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade
Man of 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade
Death of Sir John Moore
Death of Sir John Moore
Cartoon of Winston Churchill, British statesman
Cartoon of Winston Churchill, British statesman
Winston Churchill / World
Winston Churchill / World
Mallory and Irvine at the Second Step, Everest, 1924
Mallory and Irvine at the Second Step, Everest, 1924
The Nimrod Antarctic Expedition at the furthest point South
The Nimrod Antarctic Expedition at the furthest point South
Ernest Shackleton preparing for a trans-antarctic expedition
Ernest Shackleton preparing for a trans-antarctic expedition
Toboggan or bobsleigh ride
Toboggan or bobsleigh ride

+

Shipping

+

Choices

+

Reviews

+

Guaranteed




Collections


Fine Art
Fine Art
Browse 46,607 Prints
Magazines
Magazines
Browse 21,322 Prints
Drill
Drill
Browse 2,048 Prints
Artists Related Images
Artists Related Images
Browse 44,551 Prints
William Alexander
William Alexander
Browse 1,805 Prints
William Lee
William Lee
Browse 732 Prints
Enfield
Enfield
Browse 803 Prints
British Museum
British Museum
Browse 27,319 Prints
Paintings
Paintings
Browse 45,775 Prints
Military
Military
Browse 39,573 Prints