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Retreat From Mons by Lady Elizabeth Butler. (Y)


Retreat From Mons by Lady Elizabeth Butler. (Y)

The battle of Mons was the first major battle fought by the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) The BEF had advanced along a 20 mile front along the Mons canal, and were on there left flank of the French 5th army. But when the French army had been defeated at the Battle of the Sambre on the 22nd August, The British commander Sir John French agreed to hold his position until the morning of the 23rd. The BEF were attacked by the German First Army . The German infantry advance was repelled by the British infantry and sustained very large losses: the British lost 1600 killed or wounded. But with the French forces retreating the British forces had no alternative but to retreat also, and on the morning of the 24th of August they began retreating to the outskirts of Paris over a fourteen day period.
Item Code : DHM0113YRetreat From Mons by Lady Elizabeth Butler. (Y) - This Edition
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Other editions of this item : Retreat From Mons by Lady Elizabeth Butler.DHM0113
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PRINT Restricted print run. Image size 30 inches x 19 inches (76cm x 48cm)noneHalf Price!
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Artist Details : Lady Elizabeth Butler
Click here for a full list of all artwork by Lady Elizabeth Butler


Lady Elizabeth Butler

Elizabeth Thompson, later Lady Butler, was perhaps the leading painter of this genre of the late nineteenth century. Her famous quartet of paintings exhibited between 1874 and 1877 (Calling the Roll after and Engagement in the Crimea - Her Majesty the Queen; Quatre Bras - National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Balaclava - City of Manchester Art Gallery; and The Return from Inkerman - Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston upon Hull) established her reputation but her subsequent works never quite achieved the fame of these earlier pictures, in spite of such dramatic scenes as Scotland for Ever! (Leeds City Art Gallery) and The Defence of Rorkes Drift (Her Majesty the Queen) She continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy until 1920 but with few exceptions, all her pictures had military themes particularly soldiers in battle. While she never witnessed actual warfare, although she was in Egypt for some years in the 1880s with her husband, Lieut. Gen. Sir William Butler, many of her pictures were drawn accurately using models in some cases, or observing soldiers on maneuvers or practicing charges at Aldershot. For instance, when Queen Victoria commissioned the artist to depict the defense of Rorkes Drift, Elizabeth Butler went down to Gosport where the 24th Regiment was billeted upon its return from Natal, and made sketches from life. The soldiers even re-enacted the battle in their original uniforms worn throughout the campaign.

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The painting shows Lieutenant T. Melville along with Lieutenant N J A Coghill attempting to Save the Queen's Colours of the 1/24th and fight their way out of the Battle of Isandhlwana.  Lieutenant Melville was the adjutant of the 1st Battalion, the 24th Foot.  Melville collected the Queen's Colours from the guard tent towards the end of the battle and rode out of camp heading for the Tugela River.  Melville arrived at the river, and due to the heavy rains the Tugela was in flood.  Melville rode into the river but about half way across came off his horse, still clutching the colours.  Lieutenant Coghill, also of the 24th Foot, crossed the river soon after and went to Melville's assistance.  The Zulus were on the bank and opened a heavy fire on them.  Lt Coghill's horse was killed and the colour swept away.  Both officers struggled to the Natal bank where it seems it is llikely that both men were killed by Natal natives.  The colours would later be recovered from the Tugela River.  Both officers would be later awarded the Victoria Cross.  The losses during the battle were 52 British officers and 806 non-commissioned ranks were killed and 471 Africans died fighting for the British.  Zulu warrior dead were around 2,000 dead either on the field or from wounds.  There were only around 60 Europeans survived the battle.

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