Paul Nash

The Messerschmidt in Windsor Great Park

1940

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Pastel, graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 400 x 578 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the War Artists Advisory Committee 1946
Reference
N05716

Display caption

In 1940 Nash was made an Official War Artist to the Royal Air Force. He made many studies of planes and wrecked enemy aircraft, although he was not allowed to fly in a plane himself because of health problems. His drawings and paintings of the period are vivid re-interpretations of the scenes he witnessed. He was particularly interested in the bizarre relationships between man-made and natural forms, and making static objects appear animated. Here the crashed German plane takes on a totem-like presence, accentuated by the strange shadows.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

N05716 THE MESSERSCHMIDT IN WINDSOR GREAT PARK 1940

Not inscribed.
Pencil, chalks and watercolour, 15 3/4×22 3/4 (40×58).
Presented by the War Artists' Advisory Committee 1946.
Exh: National War Pictures, National Gallery, 1945, and R.A., October–November 1945 (175); British Council, Nine Artists, Prague, 1946 (37).
Lit: Bertram, 1955, pp.271–2.

Painted for the Air Ministry late in 1940 and delivered in January 1941 as one of a set of five watercolours called ‘Marching against Britain’.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II