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Commissioning the Charge at High Wood

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Having seen the finished painting unveiled, Graham's customer writes:

'As Graham states the commission for the painting stemmed from a series of coincidences.

An original photograph of the Secunderabad MG squadron (incorporating the MG sections of the Deccan Horse, Poona Horse and 7 Dragoon Guards) was ripped into four pieces by my grandfather in his old age and thrown into the bin. My cousin rescued it, gave it to me and in 2010 I had it pieced together and restored professionally.

Later that year I contacted the MGC Old Comrades Association and gave them copies of the photograph. They were very excited, as it's apparently rare in showing a full cavalry MG Squadron. By coincidence they were visiting (what is now) the York Army museum the following month which houses the Royal Dragoon Guards collections so I asked that they gave a copy to the Museum. Five years later I happened to visit York and popped into the Museum only to discover that there was an exhibition on the Somme and that the photograph featured in it.'
7th Dragoon Guards mgs
'A week or so later I met Graham regarding a Medieval picture of his. During our conversation he asked me where my interest in military history came from. Remembering the photograph, I explained that among other reasons I had been piecing together my grandfather's WW1 service history. Graham asked me what regiment he served in and, when I said the 7DG's, we were both somewhat stunned when he revealed that he was taking part in a memorial ride at High Wood in three weeks' time, where he would be on horseback wearing the regiment's uniform. It was the first I'd heard of the event or the wood and I simply had to be there.

Three weeks later after much last-minute rescheduling of work commitments, my aunt, son, nephew, wife and I witnessed the ride. To see the riders appear in the distance and come through the wheat fields towards us was very moving. To be able show my aunt where her father had been, precisely a hundred years before, was both a real privilege and a culmination of a long-held wish by her.
(Click here to read Graham's account of the High Wood Commemorative Ride)

Another coincidence had been the appearance of Graham's painting "A Long Way from Home" a week before we went to France, This depicts the Indian cavalry moving through Albert. Throughout my grandfather's life he retained a great respect for the Indian soldiers he'd known and served alongside; presumably seeing the Deccan Horse charge alongside the 7DG at High Wood had helped reinforce that respect. As I watched the riders, including Graham, approach High Wood I had a wild thought; would Graham consider painting the battle? Well I think we all know the answer to that!

His painting surpassed all our expectations. In commissioning him we knew we'd have a painting which would benefit from his reputation for extensive research and attention to detail, but there is so much more. It's an excellent, interesting, active, colourful and thoughtfully composed painting in its own right, with many different narrative's visible within it, not all of which are immediately obvious. For example, one of those surrendering Germans looks suspiciously like a certain artist! On a sombre related note, quite what my grandfather's émigré German foster mother, and her sister, who had brought him up in Chiswick since the age of four, thought about his war service isn't known but it can't have been easy for any of them.

Finally, by featuring my grandfather in Grahams painting we are perpetuating another coincidence. My aunt remembers he was used as an artist's model for a number of paintings of British cavalrymen in the Bedford Park artist community due to his being seen by them as the epitome of how a cavalryman should appear. How nice it is to continue that tradition, through Graham's beautifully painted depiction of the battle.'
CLICK HERE to return to the main 'The Charge at High Wood' page, which gives full details of the painting and the story behind it. Also discover how it was created, with stage-by-stage photos following the painting as it evolved from a blank canvas.High Wood Painting
High Quality Giclée Prints

'The Charge at High Wood' is available a very high quality giclée print, reproduced on paper or canvas. Each print is individually printed and signed by the artist, Graham Turner, ensuring a result that is as close to the original as possible.

High Quality Giclée Prints
The Charge at High Wood Centenary Ride

In July 2016 Graham Turner visited the Somme to take part in a ride commemorating the centenary of the Charge at High Wood. CLICK HERE to discover more about the only cavalry action of the Battle of the Somme and read Graham's account of his experiences retracing the cavalry's steps a century later.
The Charge at High Wood Centenary Ride

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