Battle Of Loos

The Battle of Loos, Richard Barrett Talbot Kelly (1896-1971), estimate £3000-5000 at Parker Fine Art Auctions. 

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A signed 1916 watercolour by Richard Barrett Talbot Kelly (1896-1971) depicting his observations at the Battle of Loos comes to Parker Fine Art Auctions on July 4.

The 25.5in x 38.15in (64.8 x 96.8cm) watercolour, which carries a £3000-5000 estimate, specifically shows German prisoners and injured British soldiers passing him at the Hohenzollern Redoubt when the 9th Scottish Division broke through the German front line on September 25, 1915.

Talbot Kelly was himself serving with the Royal Field Artillery on the day and painted his observations of a moment which marked the start of the Battle of Loos.

The Hohenzollern Redoubt was a German position protecting a valuable observation point in Loos. The 26th Highland Brigade successfully assaulted the position on this opening day of battle, only for the six British divisions to be surrounded and forced to retreat over the following days, suffering huge casualties.

Kelly wrote of that day’s brutality: “These men had become majestic in their grime and filth of war, utterly fearless now of any horror it might hold for them, prepared to hand on, whilst consciousness lasted, to the gains they had won at such tremendous cost.

“I was witness, this day, to the devotion and self-sacrifice of the very pick of Scotland’s manhood, men whom I had so recently seen on parade in their thousands, and who now returned of their own free will, crippled and maimed, to walk down the dark, uncertain alleyways of death”.

He recorded his service on the front line in his book A Subaltern’s Odyssey which is also being offered with the lot at the along with a map and documentation about the battle.