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Legacy of the First World War Lunchtime Lecture

31 May 2019

This lecture will be held on Friday 31 May 2019 at the Royal Air Force Museum, London

In the second of the RAF Museum’s 2019 The Legacy of the First World War Lunchtime Lectures series, Dr Jonathan Black will discuss the example of the Carline Brothers in the promotion of the RAF through War Art.

Landscape Painting, Italy, 1918, Lieutenant Sydney Carline, RAF

TALK OUTLINE

This lecture will focus on the Carline artist-brothers works produced in the period around 1918-20 for the Air Force Section of the Ministry of Information (M-o-I) specifically to highlight the contribution the RAF had made to the Allied Victory in 1918.

Sydney (1888-1929) and Richard (1896-1980) Carline had both volunteered to serve in the Royal Flying Corps early in 1916. Sydney qualified as a pilot in July 1916 and Richard as an Observer/Wireless Operator the following year. Sydney flew as a fighter pilot in France, in 1916 and then in Italy – totting up over 100 missions between February and April 1918, during which period he also shot down three Austro-Hungarian aircraft.

Richard served for a short period in the spring of 1918 in France as an Observer/Rear Gunner and was then in June 1918 was appointed an official war artist by the Ministry of Information with a brief to paint images which indicated the importance of photo-reconnaissance by the new Royal Air Force in the skies over France and Flanders.

A month later, still based in Italy, Sydney was appointed an official war artist required to record the many activities of the 14th Wing of the RAF attached to the British Expeditionary Force in Italy. While flying a Sopwith Camel and then in the back seat of a Bristol Fighter Sydney was able to witness at first hand the devastating effect RAF aircraft had ground strafing Austro-Hungarian troops in retreat late in October 1918 and recorded his vivid impressions in several canvases.

In December 1918 Sydney and Richard were then sent by the Air Force Section of the M-o-I to the Middle East – large sections of which had recently come under British control – to draw and paint works celebrating the RAF’s key contribution to the destruction of Ottoman Turkish forces at the hands of General Allenby’s Egyptian Expeditionary Force in September-October 1918.

Between January and September 1919 the two brothers sketched for the RAF in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, the Lebanon, Mesopotamia (what in 1921 was to become Iraq) and in northern Persia, by the shores of the Caspian Sea. Between them Sydney and Richard produced over 200 drawings and paintings – a selection of which were exhibited to considerable acclaim in the huge exhibition of the ‘Nations War Pictures’ held at the Royal Academy, London, December 1919-February 1920 (this exhibition then went on tour to several UK cities).

The brothers, with the encouragement of senior figures within the RAF, encouraged them to exhibit a larger selection of their work from France, Italy and the Middle East in a series of joint shows they held in the UK, March to November 1920. It is my contention that display of the Carline’s official war art was used to bolster the reputation of the RAF as it successfully fought for its continued existence in the face of drastic cuts in funding for the armed services and of determined opposition from the Army and Royal Navy.

LOCATION AND TIME

The lecture will be held at the Royal Force Museum, London at 12:30pm on Friday 31 May 2019.
   

TICKETS

This lecture is free of charge however we do ask that you pre-book a free ticket as seats are limited. Booking is quick and easy

ABOUT DR JONATHAN BLACK

Dr Jonathan Black studied History and History of Art at the Universities of Cambridge and London. In 2004 he was awarded a PhD in History of Art from UCL for his thesis exploring the image of the ‘Tommy’ in the war art of: C.R.W. Nevinson (1889-1946); Eric Kennington (1888-1960) and Charles Sargeant Jagger (1885-1935) c. 1915-25. He curated the exhibition War in the Springtime: The British in Italy, 1917-18 at the Estorick Collection, London (January-March 2017) which focussed on the art Sydney Carline (1888-1929) produced in Italy in 1918 while a fighter pilot and as official war artist for the RAF. Recent publications include: C.R.W. Nevinson: The Complete Prints (Lund Humphries, Aldershot, 2014); Power and Beauty: The Art of Sir Oswald Birley MC (Philip Mould & Co, London, 2017); Winston Churchill in British Art, 1900 to the Present Day: The Titan With Many Faces (Bloomsbury, London, 2017) and Alfred Munnings: Memory, The War Horse and the Canadians in 1918 (National Army Museum, London, 2018). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, London and of the Royal Historical Society, London and currently a Senior Research Fellow in History of Art, Kingston School of Art, Kingston University.
  

ABOUT THE RAF MUSEUM RESEARCH PROGRAMME

The Legacy of the First World War Lunchtime Lectures form a part of the RAF Museum’s Research Programme for 2019. This programme consists of the evening Trenchard Lectures in Air Power Studies — held in conjunction with the University of Wolverhampton and Royal Aeronautical Society in London — the Cold War Lunchtime Lectures at Cosford, and other events such as conferences.

Please note that lectures are subject to change.

DOWNLOAD THE 2019 LECTURE PROGRAMME



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