'Remnants of Patriotism: the sculptural appeal of the greatcoat after the First World War' Oxford Art Journal, vol. 27, no. 3, (2004)
This study brought together ideas about the structural and symbolic significance of the greatcoat in a specific monumental commemorative context as well as in a broader sphere, as both material and visual culture.
It started as a close analysis of Ledward’s working processes on the Guards’ Division Memorial, London, 1926 (see Output 1). My search to understand what Ledward sought to achieve with the two ancillary reliefs depicting soldiers’ effects developed into a broader consideration of the greatcoat as military dress and as representation in both contemporary and historical contexts. This led to an examination of its specific military function and the material properties of the object, allied with its emotional and symbolic force when presented as a memorial to the war dead.
Sources that informed this analysis included photography, literary texts, military text books, ephemera and advertisements. It was originally presented as a paper at the conference Drapery and Visual Culture, National Gallery, London, 2002.
In July 2003, while working on these themes, I presented a talk at Fabrica, Brighton ‘Personal Effects: loss, memory and the disembodied garment’ to accompany the exhibition Cast Off by artist Kaarina Kaikkonen.
My research on corporeality and commemoration continues to develop. ‘Ordering Disaster: the work of Sir John Burnet for the Imperial War Graves Commission in Gallipoli’, was presented to the Department of Art History, University of Oxford in November 2005 and ‘Commemoration as appropriation: the war dead of Gallipoli’ as part of Bodies of Conflict: Corporeality, Materiality, and Transformation in 20th Century War, the 3rd UCL/Imperial War Museum conference on Materialities and Cultural Memory of 20th Century Conflict, Imperial War Museum, September 2006.