"Remnants of patriotism": the commemorative representation of the greatcoat after the First World War

Catherine Moriarty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The need to create memorials that had relevance to the bereaved yet located the Great War as an historic event,demanded a monumental language that was both flexible and legible. This article examines one aspect of the vast range of commemorative projects undertaken in the post-war years within the combatant nations of 1914–18. Focusing on British examples, it considers the greatcoat, which when represented sculpturally, offered great formal and expressive potential. It could be an important compositional element both in relief and in the round and play a part in narrative. Though immediately associated with 1914–18, the coat echoed earlier forms of monumental drapery and dress. During the war, the greatcoat identified the soldier's body as part of the serving forces: it protected him, disguised him, obscured him, and comforted him; in death it could become his shroud. Sculptors utilised the greatcoat for commemorative purposes in a number of interesting ways, exploiting the conventions of drapery to memorialise the mass death of civilian soldiers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-309
Number of pages19
JournalOxford Art Journal
Volume27
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Keywords

  • sculpture
  • war
  • commemoration
  • clothing
  • uniform

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