To Paint a War

The lives of the Australian artists who painted the Great War, 1914-1918


Currently out of stock. Please contact us for more information.

ISBN: 9780500500903 Category:

Richard Travers


Among all the forms of national memory and commemoration, it falls to the artists to paint a war. When war is as traumatic as the Great War, the artists’ burden is so much the greater.

The Australian artists who painted World War I approached their subject personally, in ways that reflected their experience of the war. Grace Cossington Smith painted on the home front. Hilda Rix Nicholas suffered personal loss beyond words. Tom Roberts, George Coates and Arthur Streeton served as wardsmen in a military hospital in London. George Lambert travelled to Anzac Cove in 1919 to make the definitive record of the war at Gallipoli.

Some contributed as members of the official war artists’ scheme. Others painted as eye witnesses of the unfolding tragedy. Yet others painted from their hearts. Their work, in all its richness and variety, is a sweeping painterly chronicle of the war, and a vital part of Australia’s heritage.

Richard Travers, the author of Diggers in France: Australian Soldiers on the Western Front, now turns his attention to the Australians who painted World War I. He follows the artists as they leave Australia in search of inspiration and fame in London and Paris. They formed an Australian commune in Chelsea on the banks of the Thames. There they lived an enviable life that was cut short, abruptly, by the outbreak of war. To Paint a War is the story of their response to the crisis.

Additional information

Weight 912 g
Dimensions 21.7 x 25.3 cm
Publisher name Thames & Hudson Australia Pty Ltd
Publication date 1 April 2017
Number of pages 248
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 21.7 x 25.3 cm
Weight 912 g


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “To Paint a War”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For many years, Richard Travers practised as a trial lawyer with a major Australian law firm. More recently, he has taught law to students at the University of New South Wales. Diggers in France, published in 2008, gave life to the voices of the young Australians who served their country on the Western Front. To Paint a War gives life to the not-so-young Australians who painted the diggers and celebrated their achievements. Both books showcase cardinal skills of the trial lawyer - patience, painstaking research, and an eye for the story behind the story.