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Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

20 of 79 portraits matching 'World War Two'

© private collection; on loan to the National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

by Frank Salisbury
oil on canvas, 1945
40 1/4 in. x 49 7/8 in. (1022 mm x 1267 mm)
Lent by The Viscount Montgomery Will Trust, 1977
Primary Collection
NPG L165

On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

Montgomery is seen here pointing to a map of the Normandy beaches for the D-Day landings. The portrait was commissioned by the sitter himself: he flew the 71-year old artist to his headquarters in Berlin for a sitting.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG x163248: Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (includes the portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Gibson, Robin; Clerk, Honor, 20th Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery Collection, 1993, p. 16 Read entry

    Before Alamein we never had a victory, pronounced Churchill; after it we never suffered a defeat. The victory of the 8th Army at Alamein in 1942 was pre-eminently Montgomery's victory and assured his reputation as Britain's finest field commander since Wellington. An exacting disciplinarian and a meticulous planner, his genius lay in his extraordinary ability to inspire enthusiasm and loyalty in his troops. Admired by Churchill, he was entrusted with the command of the 21st Army Group in the invasion of Europe, and is seen here in a Canadian flying jacket pointing to the Normandy beaches. The insignia in the upper left hand corner are those of the 21st Army Group and its successor, the Control Commission in Germany.

    Montgomery commissioned the portrait himself and flew the 71 year old London artist to his Headquarters in Berlin for a sitting. Salisbury, veteran painter of royaIty and presidents, had never flown before and described the episode in his autobiography Sarum Chase (1953) with all the enthusiasm of a schoolboy, delighted particularly that Montgomery had signed and given him the campaign map featured in the ground of the portrait.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 437

Placesback to top

  • Place made: Germany (sitter's headquarters, Berlin, Germany)

Events of 1945back to top

Current affairs

Despite Churchill's popularity during, and indeed after, the War, Clement Attlee wins a landslide Labour victory in the general election. Labour's success was due to its promise of a better society through the Welfare state, and was demonstrative of the public's desire for a new and better post-War society.

Art and science

Noel Coward's Brief Encounter is released. The film, based on Coward's play, Still Life, is about the love affair between two married people who meet at a railway station. Conscious of the risk of being caught the couple decide to break off their relationship to protect their marriages.
George Orwell publishes his satirical novel Animal Farm, as an allegorical critique of Soviet Totalitarianism.

International

A war on two fronts finally proves too much for Germany as allied forces push from the East and West. On the 30th April Hitler committed suicide and Germany soon surrendered to Soviet troops. Victory in Europe was announced on the 8th May. War in the Pacific continued until America dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 214,000 people, and ending the war with Japan.

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