Alan Sorrell (1904-1974):
A Land Fit for Heroes, 1936
Framed (ref: 2591)
Signed and date
Pen and ink and gouache, 11 5/8 x 19 1/2 in. (32.1 x 49.4 cm.)
Provenance: Richard Sorrell.
David Lloyd George promised the soldiers who fought for ‘King and Country’ that they would return to a ‘land fit for heroes’.The land they returned to had changed profoundly, yet it met hardly any of their expectations: of those lucky enough to return,most collected their civilian suit, a pair of medals and a small cash payment, then joined the ranks of those looking in vain for work; others collected a disability pension but were never able to work again.
Sorrell was fourteen in 1918, and had spent much of a sickly childhood in a Bath chair ; perhaps this made him more sympathetic towards the victims of the war.
In this harrowing picture, a statue of Britannia on a pedestal ironically surveys the scene: a civilian grandee with a hawkish expression watches a pathetic parade of war-wounded, some so grey-faced that they seem already to be ghosts.The picture, a grim foreboding of the carnage to come, called on Sorrell’s memories of the First World War veterans.