I’m delighted to learn that the National Portrait Gallery will be mounting a large exhibition of First World War portraits next year, starting in February.
The NPG is my favourite art gallery. I popped in while I was in London last weekend, and had my spirits lifted by a small display of William Nicholson woodcuts, including his Queen Victoria.
The WW1 exhibition promises to have a wide range, setting official portraits of generals and such beside photos and modernist works by the likes of Kirchner and Max Beckmann.
I’m glad to see that they also intend to include Epstein’s Rock Drill, which is surely an idealised self-portrait of himself when he felt all macho and vorticist before the War. Then afterwards, when a spell as a soldier had knocked him sideways, he emasculated the figure, and left it looking very vulnerable indeed.
A while ago I looked up Epstein’s military record. Here is the summary of his condition when he left the Army. Can anyone help me decipher the handwriting? (Click the image for a larger version.)
What I can read of that is:
His condition has very materially improved. He has lost the [?????} & he has no hesitation in his speech – is still pale. Is of no military value.
Any ideas about that middle bit?