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Remembered Today:

Divisional Artist


Guest apringle

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Guest apringle

My Great-grandfather George Bain, served for different units within the 26th Div in Salonika between 1916-18. During his time there, for a period, he was named as the divisional artist.

My problem is that I cannot find any info on the role of a divisional artist.

Does anyone out there have any knowledge of the role of Div Artists?

Also, does anyone know if records were kept on a divisional level, and if so, where?

Ultimately I would like to know if there are any works of his out there, whether they be artworks on a classical sense or if they are draft illustrations for orders, manuals or sketches of the front lines?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Many thanks.

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There was certainly no such official position, but I wonder if his talents were known and he was asked, unofficially, to carry out some work.

With regards to his surviving works, try contacting David Cohen Fine Arts via the Link below. As well a being a WW1 enthusiast, David specialises in WW1 art.

http://www.dcfa.com/

TR

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ap

I have read a book where a soldier from the 7th Londons with artistic talents was used by his Division to sketch the frontage of their lines for operational use,and even went behind enemy lines to capture terrain layouts. He later became involved in various other items including,later on transfer to the RE, the production of camouflage in various forms.

The book is an interesting read:

"Drawing Fire" by Private Len Smith. ISBN 978-0-00-731384-6. Collins.

You may not find a definition of a Divisional Artist ! I would say that it was merely opportunism on the part of the "red tabs" which made sensible operational use of talent in it's midst. This soldier was in his early time at the front well known for making caricatures/sketches for his Battalion colleagues to send home to their folks,and his name spread because of it.

Sotonmate

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  • 3 weeks later...

My Great-grandfather George Bain, served for different units within the 26th Div in Salonika between 1916-18. During his time there, for a period, he was named as the divisional artist...

Are you able to define the precise origin of being named as the divisional artist?

I know George Bain was an artist / scenic designer to the 26th Divisional Theatre Company, and without wishing to downplay his duties, I wonder if some confusion may have arisen with his off-duty role?

That said, it is quite feasible that the artistic talents of someone who was spending time supporting the divisional theatre company may have been put to good use in waging war.

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apringle, go to the Australian War Memorial website and run the query Divisional Artist. Or use this link http://www.awm.gov.a...st&submit=#1400.

The results will show numerous official war artists attached to Divisions and the kind of work they did. Some painted while others doubled as camouflage instructors, as some of the camouflage schemes were very elaborate. While like others I cannot believe there was a position of Divisional Artist on the war establishment, it is possible that either he did it part time, because of his talent, or that he was a war artist and attached to the division. I think the former is the most likely explanation.

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He had not been attached, but was already a serving member of one of 26th Div's constiuent units. I understand that his artistic talents probably came to wider attention in his theatre work in Salonika.

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