Dame Ethel Walker

The Zone of Hate: Decoration


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Not on display

Dame Ethel Walker 1861–1951
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 2476 × 2464 mm
Presented by the artist 1946

Catalogue entry


Inscr. ‘Ethel Walker 1915’ b.r.

Canvas, 96 1/2×97 (245×246·5).
Presented by the artist 1946.
Exh: N.E.A.C., summer 1917 (71), as ‘Decoration in Oils - The Zone of Hate’; R.A., Decorative Art, winter 1923 (129); Ethel Walker, Charles Ginner, Louise Pickard, Goupil Gallery, January 1924 (92), as ‘Invocation: The Zone of Hate’; N.E.A.C., Retrospective Exhibition, January–February 1925 (179); Mural Decorative Paintings, Whitechapel Art Gallery, May–June 1935 (27); Wildenstein, November–December 1936 (11); R.A., 1942 (180); N.E.A.C., February–March 1945 (259), as ‘Decoration: The Zone of Hate’.
Lit: Mary Chamot, ‘Ethel Walker’ in Apollo, XIII, 1931, p.308; Mary Chamot, Modern Painting in England, 1937, p.63.

In the N.E.A.C. catalogue, summer 1917, this painting is described as representing ‘...5 Forces, Hate, Life, Death, Destiny, the World Sorrow. The 2 figures on the left and right completing arabesque symbolize (1) The Mother of the Race, (2) The Earth covering the dead.’

A Press handout in connexion with the 1936 Wildenstein exhibition stated that ‘Miss Walker started the first [i.e. “The Zone of Hate”] within a week of the outbreak of war in 1914. At a time when most people thought the war would be a matter of a few weeks, she was inspired by a foreboding that it would last for years. All the figures in the painting are entirely allegorical, but the war mentality was so strong at the time that people complained because she had not included the figure of the Kaiser.’ This painting remained in her studio for many years and often appears in the background of her portraits and figure paintings. The recumbent figure on the extreme right, being covered by the Earth, is said to have been modelled upon George Moore.

For further information see the note on N05668.

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

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