ID number ART28309.006
Title Three seated soldiers
Collection Art
Object type Drawing
Maker Drysdale, Russell (Artist)
Places made
  • Australia
  • Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Date made 1944
Medium watercolour and pen and ink heightened with white on paper
Measurement sheet: 27.4 x 35.4 cm; image: 23.8 x 35.2 cm (irregular)


Depicts three Australian soldiers resting. The central figure is seated on a raised elevation while the other two flank him on either side.

'Three seated soldiers' visually recreates the experience of a group of Australian and Greek soldiers who missed the last fleet of ships evacuating people from Greece in 1942. Refusing to surrender, they struck out on foot along the coast and were eventually rescued by a British destroyer. It was inspired by work Drysdale did on the wartime publication 'The Australian Soldier - A Portrait' by John Hetherington and is a more highly coloured version to that reproduced in the book.

The composition depicts the night before the group was rescued. After finding a sunken boat on the floor of a small inlet, fearing for their lives, they formed a working group and worked late into the night in an effort to salvage it. It was in bad condition and after many hours they sank down to sleep that night exhausted and almost ready to admit defeat. The next morning they were rescued.