Spence: The Art of War

Spence: The Art of War Exhibition


Spence: The Art of War

An exhibition of watercolour paintings by Colonel G. O. Spence
Sunday 11 November – Sunday 29 April 2018.

Spence: The Art of War tells the story of Colonel Gilbert Ormerod Spence and his time in active service during the First World War between 1915 and 1918.

Spence painted over one hundred watercolours during his time at the Front, illustrating life in battle and at rest for himself and his men.

Colonel Spence led the 5th Durham Light Infantry Brigade through some of the most well-known battles of the First World War. His paintings give us a unique view of Ypres, the Somme, Arras, Passchendaele, and his last battle at Estaires. During this battle, Colonel Spence received the injury that took him out of the War.

The paintings also show us the arms and armour used by both sides of the conflict. From rifles to artillery, and from helmets to tanks, Spence’s watercolours help us to understand how soldiers used them on the front lines.

These paintings are a unique insight into the arms and armour of the First World War, and the lives lived by the soldiers fighting it. Our thanks go to Preston Park Museum for allowing us to display them here.