Naval Officers of World War I

Past display archive
10 May - 12 October 2014

Room 32


NPG 1913 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Naval Officers of World War I by Sir Arthur Stockdale Cope, 1921

Naval Officers of World War I by Sir Arthur Stockdale Cope is one of three large group portraits commissioned by the South African financier Sir Abraham (‘Abe’) Bailey in the aftermath of the Great War. The other two portraits, Statesmen of World War 1 by Sir John Lavery and General Officers of World War 1 by John Singer Sargent are on permanent display in Room 30.  Owing to poor condition, Naval Officers has not been seen for several decades. However, following a recent successful appeal for necessary funds to restore the work, the present display returns this important painting to public view.

Conceived as a gift to the nation, Bailey’s idea was that the three paintings would commemorate the role of the Navy, Army and statesmen during the recently ended global conflict. Collectively, the group would depict the most distinguished naval, military and political leaders of the day, a commission regarded by the National Portrait Gallery‘s Trustees in 1918 as the most important it had ever received. Cope’s painting depicts twenty-two of the Navy’s most senior figures. This imaginative arrangement is set in the Admiralty Board Room in Whitehall, a context that recalls the great Naval episodes of the past.

To view and download a key of sitters in the portrait please click here

For a selection of images and insights into the picture please click here and follow the links.

© National Portrait Gallery, London