by John Gunston
bromide print, 1916
5 3/8 in. x 3 3/8 in. (138 mm x 88 mm)
Click on the links below to find out more:
This portraitback to top
The poet Wilfred Owen was born in Oswestry in Shropshire. He enlisted in 1915 and was commissioned into the Manchester Regiment in 1916, an event celebrated by his uncle's photograph of him in his new uniform. He was invalided home in 1917, but returned to the Western Front and won an MC before his death in November 1918. His powerful poems, such as 'Dulce et Decorum Est', are eloquent expressions of the disillusionment felt by many with the war.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Clerk, Honor, The Sitwells, 1994 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 14 October - 22 January 1995), p. 53
- Crane, David; Judd, Alan, First World War Poets, 2014, p. 41
- Judd, Alan; Crane, David, Character Sketches: First World War Poets, 1997, p. 26
- Moorhouse, Paul; Faulks, Sebastian (essay), The Great War in Portraits, 2014 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 27 February - 15 June 2014), p. 113
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 474
- Tinker, Christopher, Speak its Name! - Quotations by and about Gay Men and Women, 2016, p. 79
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1916back to top
Current affairsAs war drags on with heavy losses, the Prime Minister David Lloyd George introduces conscription with the Military Service Act. Conscientious objectors who refused to fight were compelled to do non-military war work, and some were jailed.
British Summer Time is introduced, putting the clocks forward an hour during the summer in order to capitalise on daylight hours.
Art and scienceC. Hubert H. Parry sets William Blake's poem, Jerusalem, to music popularising the poem and tune as a patriotic English anthem. On hearing Edward Elgar's orchestrated version in 1922, King George V suggested that it replace God Save the King as the National Anthem.
InternationalThe Irish Citizen Army starts a Nationalist rebellion in Dublin: The Easter Rising.
Massive losses are suffered on the Western Front at the battles of the Somme and Verdun.
The Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire (1916-18) led by Prince Faisal is assisted by T.E. Lawrence, who became known as Lawrence of Arabia.
See this portrait
On display in Room 22: showcase at the National Portrait Gallery
Exhibitions and displays
- First World War Poets
Until 1 October
- Portrait of the Day: Wilfred Owen
27 May, 12:30