The Art of War – Artists of the First and Second World Wars

Course Introduction

In this course, we look at different aspects of art created by British artists during the First and Second World Wars. 

We discover how various Government Schemes commissioned artists to record and interpret aspects of the First World War at home and abroad. We also look at the impact  being an official war artist had on modernists such as Paul Nash, Christopher Nevinson and Percy Wyndham Lewis. 

The jobs women undertook during WW1 were captured by artists such as Anna Airy, Flora Lion and Clare Atwood and we analyse how they reflected the change of women’s role in society. We see how artists such as Lucy Kemp-Welch and Alfred Munnings depicted the role horses played during WW1 in their paintings including a portrait of the most famous ‘War Horse’ of all – ‘Warrior’.

in the second set of three lectures we discover some of the art of the Second World War created by modern artists such as Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, Stanley Spencer and Paul Nash who  painted the war on the home front industries and battles in the air. Prominent women artists such as Dame Laura Knight were also chosen to paint  portraits of heroines of the armed forces and industry and we look at their contributions. The art of those artists who were sent abroad to record and interpret the various theatres of war from Itay to Egypt, Normandy to Morocco and Burma to Belsen are also surveyed here.

A list of artists included in each lecture and a Further Reading list will be sent via email with the links to each lecture for you to watch on YouTube once you have paid. Each lecture is one hour long.

Payment Details

Cost: £60 for all 6x 1 hour lectures. Pay with PayPal

Or buy the individual lectures below for £12 each.

If you prefer to pay by cheque or BACS please email Catherine

The Lectures

The First World War

Artists of the First and Second World Wars
From Blasting to Bombardiering – British artist’s paintings of the Western Front 


Women war artists Art History Course
2. Women war artists 1914–18 & depictions of women’s work 


3. War Horses - Depictions of horses during the First World War
3. War Horses – Depictions of horses in the First World War


The Second World War

The Modernists at War - Art History Course
4. The Modernists at War: 1939–1945 in the air, on land and at sea


Women Artists in WWII
5. Women Artists and the depiction of women’s role  in the Second World War


War Artists Abroad - Art History Course
6. On Foreign Soil: War Artists Abroad Battles, retreats and prisoners


Image credits: Lecture 1 – Percy Wyndham Lewis, Lecture 2 – Flora Lion, Lecture 3 – Lionel Edwards, Lecture 4 – Paul Nash, Lecture 5 – Ethel Gabain, Lecture 6 – Richard Eurich