Thursday 19 April 2007 by Janda Gooding. No comments
Art, George Lambert: Gallipoli and Palestine Landscapes, Exhibition, Battlefield Tours, George Lambert: Gallipoli and Palestine Landscapes Exhibition

In late 2006 I was fortunate to receive a Gordon Darling Travel Grant to do field work at Gallipoli. The purpose of the grant is to examine the landscape of Gallipoli in relation to paintings and photographs of Gallipoli in the Memorial's collection. I joined the Memorial's Battlefield tour that left Australia 13 April. After 4 days in Istanbul we have arrived in Cannakale [Chanak] a small town on the Asiatic side of the Dardanelles that looks across the Narrows to the Gallipoli peninsula. For a more detailed account of the battlefield group's progress and some fantastic photos of what we are doing, check out my colleague John Lafferty's blog.

Today we visited the ruins of Troy and the Dardanelles battery positions before heading back to Cannakale for an afternoon discussing the importance of this place to the Gallipoli campaign. George Lambert spent some time in Cannakale on his way to Gallipoli with the Australian Historical Mission in early 1919. Stranded for 7 days by rough seas and blizzards, Lambert spent his time painting and looking across the Narrows to Gallipoli. I know how he felt; we have been circling around, getting ever closer to our destination for the last few days!

While here, I wanted to locate the sites of a couple of Lambert's paintings and in particular Inside the fort, Chanak (ART02832). This afternoon we visited theĀ Cimenlik CastleĀ fort built by Sultan Mehmet the second [the Conqueror] in 1461-1462. The fort now houses the Cannakale Military Museum.

When Lambert painted this, evidence of the fierce Allied bombardment of Cannakale was still very raw. The central feature of his painting is the Fatih Mosque of Sultan Mehmet II, with the badly damaged minaret rising from the battlements. The building on the right [the castle keep] has been completely restored but the damage line [so evident in Lambert's painting] is still visible in the stonework. The minaret has also been rebuilt and looks oddly new and somewhat incongruous amongst the stone battlements.

Inside the fort, Chanak today Inside the fort, Chanak today

Lambert's painting must have been quickly sketched in on a cold and bleak day but captures superbly the tone and atmosphere of the fort complex. John Lafferty has taken this great photo from a similar vantage point to Lambert's painting to show how it was this afternoon!