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Wounded Horses Returning from the Front, France

Algernon Talmage (1871-1939)


Signed and dated 18

Oil on canvas

30 x 42 ½ inches

'Home Lad, Home. The War Horse Story', St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery, Lymington, Hampshire, 1 March-25 April 2014;
'A Century of British Art: 1900-1945', Chris Beetles Gallery, 21 June-17 July 2021, No 41

In 1918, Algernon Talmage was commissioned by The Canadian War Memorials Fund to go to France to undertake two paintings, though he produced 25 in all. Between the June and September, he spent nearly three months in Le Havre at the No 1 Canadian Veterinary Hospital. He then travelled to the Cambrai front, remaining there until mid October.

This painting depicts a scene on the road to Héninel, near the Cambrai front. A Canadian Mobile Veterinary unit is taking wounded horses to an evacuating station, so that they may be returned by train to a base hospital. The smoke from German shelling can be seen on the horizon.

A larger version of this composition, entitled
A Mobile Veterinary Unit in France, and produced in 1919, is held in the collections of the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, and has hung in the Senate Chamber of the Canadian Houses of Parliament. It was exhibited as No 53, ‘The Road to Henin’, in four exhibitions of Canadian war art held in London, New York, Montreal and Toronto in 1919, and in later, similar exhibitions.

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