Over The Top'. 1st Artists' Rifles at Marcoing, 30th December 1917

Nash, John (RA)1918

Imperial War Museums

Imperial War Museums

‘Over the Top’ is one of very few officially commissioned works depicting a specific and clearly identifiable action.The painting commemorates the 1st Artists’ Rifles involvement in an attack on the morning of 30th December, 1917, at Welsh Ridge, nearMarcoing (south west of Cambrai). The unit was recalled from ‘rest’ in response to a German attack and hastily committed to action. The consequences were disastrous and the Artists’ Rifles suffered heavy casualties. In a sense this action was typical of the hastily arranged and badly planned local counter-attack. Nash’s soldier figures climbing out of the trench, shoulders hunched over, walking out into the snow seem resigned to their fate. This battle experience profoundly affected the artist and his painting. The simplicity and directness of this image is a valuable visual complement to the historical accounts of the event to be found in the unit history and battalion war diary.

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  • Title: Over The Top'. 1st Artists' Rifles at Marcoing, 30th December 1917
  • Creator: Nash, John (RA)
  • Date Created: 1918
  • Location: Welsh Ridge, Marcoing, Nord, France
  • Physical Dimensions: w1080 x h798 mm (unframed)
  • Provenance: © IWM (Art.IWM ART 1656)
  • Type: painting
  • External Link: Imperial War Museum website
  • Medium: oil