The Somme Valley near Corbie

Accession Number ART03497
Collection type Art
Measurement overall: 153 cm x 245.5 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on canvas
Location Main Bld: First World War Gallery: Western Front 1918
Maker Streeton, Arthur
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made 1919
Conflict Period 1910-1919
First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Streeton has taken a position above the Somme Valley near Corbie, France, which provided the best view of an area heavily fought over by Australians in 1918. In April the Germans had advanced until the Australians held them at Villers-Bretonneux, a village seen in the centre distance of the painting. In the work, painted in 1919, Streeton depicts the second phase of the Australian attack which began on the Somme on the morning of 8 August 1918. British artillery is shown destroying German positions on the skyline.

Arthur Streeton wrote of the day he sketched the preparatory drawings for this work, 'I went in an Ambulance... to an old town due north from here & behind a dressing station & up a steep hill where I had a fine view of the valley with a flat covered with lovely trees & the Somme winding through & the towers of the old church of Corbie and other villages and V-B (Villers Bretonneux) on the distant skyline- a grand spread...' (Ann Galbally and Anne Gray, 'Letters from Smike: the Letters of Arthur Streeton 1890-1943', 1989, p.149)