William Barnes Wollen
William Barnes Wollen in his studio, 1902. He is working on the painting of the Imperial Light Horse at Elandslaagte
Born Leipzig, Germany 1857; died London 1936. Along with Woodville and Hillingford, Wollen may be regarded as one of the most prolific illustrators and artists of battle pictures of the late Victorian/early Edwardian era. He studied at the Slade School and exhibited his first picture at the Royal Academy in 1879. Two years later came his first military picture. The rescue of Private Andrews by Captain Garnet J. Wolseley ... at the storming of the Motee Mahal, Lucknow. Thereafter, he exhibited over thirty battle and campaign pictures at Burlington House, his last being in 1922. As was the case with his contemporaries, Wollen was attracted to the period of the Napoleonic Wars as a source for many of his pictures such as The Black Watch at bay, Quatre Bras (The Black Watch), The 28th at Waterloo (Bristol Museum and Art Gallery), Norman Ramsay at Fuentes Onoro and The 10th Hussars at Benevente. In 1898, he painted The last stand of the 44th Regiment at Gundamuck, 1842 (National Army Museum), but for the next five years, he devoted his work to depicting contemporary events, starting with The 21st Lancers at Omdurman (The Staff College), although he had painted The Battle of Abu Klea (National Army Museum) in 1896. During this period, he served in South Africa as a special artist for a new illustrated paper, The Sphere, and sent back numerous scenes from the war. Several oil paintings were a direct result of his experiences: The Imperial Light Horse at Waggon Hill, January 6, 1900, The Imperial Light Horse at Elandslaagte (Light Horse Regiment, South Africa), The Victoria Cross (Durban Art Museum) and The 1st Battalion South Lancashire Regiment, storming the Boer trenches at Pieter's Hill (Queen's Lancashire Regiment). With the end of the war, Wollen returned to painting retrospective battle/campaign pictures such as Scouts (The Royal Hussars) showing a patrol of the 10th Light Dragoons in the Peninsula, Ambushed (Sunderland Art Gallery), 18th century cavalry ambushed on a road, and The first fight for independence, depicting the engagement at Lexington Common during the American Revolution. The Great War inspired him to paint several canvases, notably Defeat of the Prussian Guard, Ypres, 1914 (Royal Green Jackets) The London Territorials at Pozieres (National Army Museum), and Semper Fidelis: the last stand of the 2nd Devons at Bois des Buttes, May 27th, 1918 (The Devon and Dorset Regiment). Wollen was also an active illustrator and painter in water-colours, exhibiting many pictures at the various London exhibitions.
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