Viewing posts categorised under: Exhibitions
A Woman’s Place…
Tuesday 19 February – Saturday 13 April 2013
Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum, SE18 6ST
Explore the vital role of women serving in the British Army during World War II and in today’s Afghanistan. A unique combination of historical artefacts from Firepower’s collections compliments a stunning display of colour photographs by award-winning photojournalist Alison Baskerville, who followed female soldiers on patrol in 2012 as they carried out their special role – to win the hearts and minds of Afghanistan’s rural communities.
The 20th Century gave back to British women the freedom to participate actively in the military to a degree that had been unthinkable for more than a thousand years.
This exhibition is a glimpse into the roles women have played while serving their country since 1939. Historical items from Firepower’s collections dating from World War II onwards are displayed alongside The White Picture, a stunning photographic record of the peacekeeping duties being carried out by today’s female soldiers serving on the front line in Afghanistan.
In 2013 women make up nearly 10% of the Armed Forces and are increasingly given roles that place them in the line of fire alongside their male colleagues. This exhibition highlights the outstanding work of our Armed Forces and puts a focus on the often unreported lives of women on the front line, whether closer to home during World War II or on the other side of the world, right now, in Afghanistan.
This is a story told very simply through objects and photographs. We invite you to look at these items while imagining the women connected with them, the qualities those women will have needed and the emotional and physical challenges they may have faced. We also challenge you to compare past and present attitudes towards the status of women in the Army and how they may be reflected in the changing uniform designs represented in this exhibition.
The White Picture was commissioned by The Royal British Legion and it is on loan to Firepower.
Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum
The history of the Royal Artillery goes back to 1716 when it was first formed at Woolwich. The RoyalArtilleryMuseum has been open to the public since 1820, making it Britain’s oldest military museum. It tells the dramatic story of artillery, scientific discoveries made through warfare and human stories of courage and endeavour. The Royal Arsenal was one of the most important centres in the world for munitions manufacture and, until recently, was a well-kept secret from the public.
Alison Baskerville biography
Alison Baskerville is an award-winning freelance journalist. She served with the Royal Air Force for 12 years, during which time she saw active service in Northern Ireland and Iraq. Whilst in Iraq, Alison was inspired to capture her surroundings on an old Nikon camera. This gave her the motivation to leave the RAF and train as a photojournalist. In 2011, the Territorial Army called on Alison’s professional military and photographic skills. She was deployed to Afghanistan as a Territorial Army photographer, where she served with the Defence Combat Camera Team for six months. Her work from this tour won awards for Best Operational Image and Best Portrait in the professional category of the 2011 British Army Photographic Competition. Her experience and skills made her the immediate choice when The Royal British Legion looked for a volunteer to travel to Afghanistan to document women’s lives on the Front Line.
Notes for Editors
- A selection of historic photographs and from The White Picture are available for media use.
- Interviews with Alison Baskerville are available in person on Tuesday 19 February or by ‘phone on a pre-arranged day. Please contact us.
- Tuesday 5 March, 11.00 and 14.00
Behind the Lens
Alison Baskerville will be giving an illustrated talk about the project behind the photographs displayed in the exhibition, as well as sharing her personal experiences of working as a female photojournalist in regions torn apart by conflict.
Adults £5/Children and students £3 (does not include admission).
Tickets must be booked in advance.
- The White Picture was commissioned by The Royal British Legion and is on loan to Firepower.
- Any photograph used from The White Picture must be credited as follows:
© Alison Baskerville/The Royal British Legion.
- The Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm.
020 8312 7113 (direct) / 020 8855 7755 (switchboard)
Firepower: The RoyalArtilleryMuseum
London SE18 6ST
Guest Blog from The Army Children Archive
As the son of Lieutenant General Sir William Congreve RA (1743–1814), the first baronet and founder, in 1778, of Firepower, The Royal Artillery Museum’s artillery collection, the second baronet, Sir William Congreve (1772–1828), was born and bred an army child. And like many army children before and since, the man who is today best known as the inventor of the Congreve rocket followed in his father’s footsteps in becoming a soldier, as well as comptroller of the Royal Laboratory and superintendant of military machines at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich.
Like numerous other children of the regiment, William junior was born near his father’s place of work, Woolwich (then in Kent, and now in south-east London) being the headquarters of the Royal Artillery, the regiment in which his father served. But because military families have always tended to follow their soldier spouses and parents from posting to posting (in the past, sometimes without official approval), and because British Army units have been posted the world over, many army children have been born abroad over the centuries. And they have also often drawn their first breath in terrible circumstances, such as during the Peninsular War’s retreat to Corunna (1808–9), when soldiers’ children were born by the side of the road, many also dying there of cold, exhaustion and malnutrition.
The Army Children Archive (TACA), which was set up in 2007, chronicles the lives and times of children who have followed the drum from the seventeenth century to date (after all, today will be history tomorrow). Visit this virtual archive at its website, www.archhistory.co.uk, to read about army children’s experiences: the journeys that they have made by foot, troopship, train or plane to far-flung postings; the many and varied places in which they have lived the world over; the married quarters in which they’ve been accommodated; the British military hospitals in which they were born; and the regimental, forces’ and civilian schools at which they were educated. You’ll also find Royal Artillery children’s and other army brats’ memories on TACA (they make fascinating reading), along with a list of famous army children, tips for those researching military ancestry and
much more besides.
So if you’re interested in learning more about an exceedingly interesting group of children, why not visit TACA? And if you were yourself once an army child, how about contributing your own story?
Clare Gibson (founder, The Army Children Archive).
Chronicling British army children’s history
Follow us on Twitter: http://bit.ly/ArmyChildren and
Firepower, The Royal Artillery Museum welcomes Guests Bloggers who have something interesting to share about the History of the Royal Artillery. Spread the word! For more information on contributing to the Firepower Blog contact email@example.com.
The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross awarded earlier this year to Lance Bombardier Gary Prout, Royal Artillery, has been presented to Firepower, The Royal Artillery Museum. At a ceremony at the Ministry of Defence on Friday, 16 July, the medal was presented by Lance Bombardier Prout himself to Major General R L Barrons CBE, Chairman of Firepower, The Royal Artillery Museum who plan to display the rare gallantry award along with Mr Prout’s Iraq Medal and Operational Service Medal (Afghanistan) at the museum in South East London.
Lance Bombardier Prout was awarded the medal for risking his life in 2009 by attempting to save the life of one of his colleagues under intense enemy fire in Afghanistan. A member of 19th Regiment Royal Artillery, Lance Bombardier Prout was tasked to patrol and probe the Taliban’s forward defences in the area south of Musa Qaleh. This was one the most dangerous areas to work in, as the insurgents had heavily fortified the area with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and concealed firing posts. Almost every patrol came under enemy fire.
After several hours the patrol was attacked and pinned down by numerous enemy firing points using small arms and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs). One of the soldiers was hit by the explosion and was stranded, in the open, unable to move due to his injuries. Ignoring the obvious danger, Lance Bombardier Prout broke cover and ran forward in full view of the enemy to help his colleague. The enemy saw him administering first aid and refocused their fire on him.
Despite the increasing fire, he managed to drag the casualty to safety and get him to a medic. As soon as he was satisfied that his colleague was in good hands, Lance Bombardier Prout once again risked his life, returning to his fire support team to help the fight. Using a smokescreen and calling for air support they managed to extract themselves back to base without further injury.
His citation states: “Prout consciously risked his life, on three separate occasions, and it was a miracle that he himself was not killed. He displayed the most incredible courage.”
On accepting the medal for Firepower, The Royal Artillery Museum, General Barrons said “This medal is a very significant addition to the already fine and impressive collection of medals on display at The Royal Artillery Museum. Its recipient Lance Bombardier Prout demonstrated that gallantry is not something that can be only found in the pages of history books. When museum visitors view the medal they will be reminded that the Royal Artillery Museum and the men and women whose stories it tells is as much about what is happening in the world today as it is with the Regiment’s celebrated and glorious past.”
- posted in Exhibitions
Firepower has been much in the news lately – particularly with last weekend’s coverage of the new exhibition, Brush with the Guns, which opens on Sunday 06 June. Check out the story of Annabelle Elford, one of our contributing artists and associate curator of the exhibition as she tells her story. Follow the link above the read on!
- posted in Exhibitions
This fascinating exhibition exploring how art has documented conflict over two centuries. The exhibition features contemporary works from noted artists Annabelle Elford, who incidentally taught art to new Prime Minister, David Cameron whist at Eton, and Matthew Cook and items from the Museum’s own extensive art collection that have never been publicly displayed. A Brush With The Guns features 50 drawings and paintings of artillery and guns, the people who man them in combat and the industrial processes to make the weapons. The works span two hundred years and are executed in pencil, watercolour and oil and appear on canvas and paper and in sketchpads, diaries and notebooks.
“Art and war are not commonly connected in the public’s mind” says Mark Smith, Curator. “Yet the artist’s representation of war has given us some of the greatest ever works of art. War art can be thought -provoking, repulsive, magnificent, mundane and inspiring but all are expressions of the artist’s attempt to express an emotion or to ensure that a moment is captured and not lost. The Museum is delighted to present such a diverse and thought-provoking collection that ranges from pencil sketches made in trenches under fire through to formal oils created many miles from conflict but just as valid”
Matthew Cook is one of the two featured contemporary artists and brings a unique perspective to his work. A serving Territorial Army officer, he was War Artist for The Times in Iraq in 2003 and is currently serving in Afghanistan. The other featured artist is Annabelle Elford whose son served as a Royal Artillery Gunner in Afghanistan in 2008 and is the subject of her pictures.
- posted in Exhibitions
Born in 1963, and graduating with a First-class Honours degree with Distinction from Kingston School of Art in 1986, Matthew Cook’s career has flourished with a fascinating and diverse number of commissions.
He has worked in Papua New Guinea, North Korea, Brazil, Peru, New Zealand and the United States among other countries and has undertaken many varied commissions in the UK. For example, in 1994 he illustrated five summertime stamps for the Royal Mail and, in 1999, he was commissioned to draw the hotels of The Savoy Hotel Group. Many of his projects have been for The Times for whom he has produced over ten portfolios of work. Recording life at their print works, and covered 3 Parliamentary elections. The All England Lawn Tennis Club secured Matthew as its first Championship Artist in 2006.
In 1991 he joined the 10th Battalion of the Parachute Regiment and then The Rifles of the Territorial Army and was War Artist for The Times in Iraq in 2003. Served in Iraq in 2004. In 2006 and 2009 he went to Afghanistan with the British Army and he has recently completed a commission to draw the filming of Ian McEwan’s Atonement for Universal Pictures.
Drawings in public collections:
The MoD Art Collection
The National Army Museum, Chelsea
RAF Museum, Hendon
RAF College Cranwell
3 Royal Horse Artillery
The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon
The Times Archive
Rothschild Bank Archive
- posted in Exhibitions
Tuesday 13th Apr until Saturday 26th Jun 2010
In association with The Fan Museum, a unique exhibition of historic fans with a military theme. As the weather starts to warm up while summer approaches, a new exhibition at Firepower and the nearby Greenwich Heritage Centre, appropriately presents a collection of fans with a military theme.
This unique display of fans relate to the Museum’s dramatic conflict-linked displays and exhibitions and, more specifically, to the depiction of artillery – as used by armies from around the world – on the leaves of the fans themselves.
The fans on show date from the mid-18th Century to the mid-20th, illustrating military engagements from the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War through to World Wars I and II. There is even an accurate historical depiction of 15th Century cannon as it would have been used in the 100 Years War (1337-1453).While 19th Century fans were mostly commemorative, those produced in the First World War were designed for propaganda purposes and for advertising.These include miniature fans on show from the time that were made by well-known French fan makers to be sold in aid of charities, such as The Red Cross.
The fans displayed in Firepower are complemented by examples on show in the adjacent Greenwich Heritage Centre focusing on the military in society.
Visit the Heritage Centre’s part of the exhibition first and you will get HALF PRICE admission to Firepower for the duration of the Fan exhibition.