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18 October 2018

Nash, Paul, 1889-1946; The Menin Road

Paul Nash was a quite extraordinary war artist: the (excellent) blog ‘Paul Nash and World War One’ has as its heading his words: ‘I am no longer an artist. I am a messenger to those who want the war to go on for ever… and may it burn their lousy souls’ (here). And in 1917 he wrote: ‘Imagine a wide landscape flat and scantily wooded and what trees remain blasted and torn, naked and scarred and riddled. The ground for miles around furrowed into trenches, pitted with yawning holes in which the water lies still and cold or heaped with mounds of earth, tangles of rusty wire, tin plates, stakes, sandbags and all the refuse of war… In the midst of this strange country… men are living in their narrow ditches.’ The Menin Road (which is three metres wide and two metres high) was completed in 1919. Nash was thirty.

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