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General Officers of World War I

1 portrait of Sir Andrew Hamilton Russell

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General Officers of World War I

by John Singer Sargent
oil on canvas, 1922
118 in. x 208 in. (2997 mm x 5283 mm) overall
Given by Sir Abraham ('Abe') Bailey, 1st Bt, 1922
Primary Collection
NPG 1954

Artistback to top

  • John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), Portrait and landscape painter and muralist. Artist associated with 72 portraits, Sitter in 5 portraits.

Sittersback to top

This portraitback to top

Soon after the First World War, the director of the National Portrait Gallery received an unprecedented offer from the South African financier Sir Abraham Bailey, who wished to finance three new commissions for the gallery. Bailey's scheme for large-scale group portraits of Military and Naval heroes, and great Statesmen, was motivated by the wish to 'perpetuate in a manner worthy of commemoration, the features of those distinguished contemporaries who have upheld the Empire during the Great War'. The offer was enthusiastically received by the Director and Trustees, and the 'ten -year rule', whereby portraits must depict sitters at least ten-years deceased, was waived. Sitters were chosen on the basis that the portraits were to be 'non-political' and would represent all parts of the British Empire, including India and South Africa. Gallery Trustees considered numerous artists, including William Orpen, Augustus John and William Nicholson, before choosing Sir James Guthrie, John Singer Sargent, and Sir Arthur Stockdale Cope, who were each paid £5000.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 2908(10): Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby (study)
  • NPG 2908(12): Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby (study)
  • NPG 4186: William Riddell Birdwood, 1st Baron Birdwood (study)
  • NPG 2908(1): William Riddell Birdwood, 1st Baron Birdwood (study)
  • NPG 2908(8): Louis Botha (study)
  • NPG 2908(3): (Frederic) Rudolph Lambart, 10th Earl of Cavan (study)
  • NPG 2908(9): (Frederic) Rudolph Lambart, 10th Earl of Cavan (study)
  • NPG 2908(6): Sir Charles Macpherson Dobell (study)
  • NPG 2908(7): Sir Charles Macpherson Dobell (study)
  • NPG 2908(17): Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig (study)
  • NPG 2908(4): Henry Sinclair Horne, Baron Horne (study)
  • NPG 2908(2): Henry Seymour Rawlinson, 1st Baron Rawlinson of Trent (study)
  • NPG 2908(14): Henry Seymour Rawlinson, 1st Baron Rawlinson of Trent (study)
  • NPG 2908(15): Henry Seymour Rawlinson, 1st Baron Rawlinson of Trent (study)
  • NPG 4181: Henry Seymour Rawlinson, 1st Baron Rawlinson of Trent (study)
  • NPG 4187: Jan Christian Smuts (study)
  • NPG 2908(13): Sir Henry Hughes Wilson, 1st Bt (study)
  • NPG 2889: Sir Henry Hughes Wilson, 1st Bt (study)
  • NPG 2654: John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl of Ypres (study)
  • NPG 2908(11): John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl of Ypres (study)
  • NPG 2908(5): Julian Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy (study)

Linked publicationsback to top

Events of 1922back to top

Current affairs

The British Broadcasting Company (later British Broadcasting Corporation) is established to experiment with radio broadcasting. It is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world, providing radio, television and Internet services to the public in Britain and across the world.

Art and science

1922 is a key year for modernist literature with the publication of James Joyce's novel, Ulysses and T.S. Eliot's poem, The Waste Land. Both broke new ground with Ulysses (loosely based on Homer's Odyssey) introducing the 'stream of consciousness' narrative technique, and The Waste Land experimenting with multiple voices and a patchwork of literary, historic, mythological and personal allusions.


The Soviet Union is formed under Joseph Stalin who takes power after Lenin suffers a debilitating stroke.
In an attempt to avoid civil war, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy invites Benito Mussolini to form a new government following the Fascist Party's March on Rome.

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