First Australian wounded at Gallipoli arriving at Wandsworth Hospital, London

Accession Number ART00200
Collection type Art
Measurement framed: 174.2 x 147 x 12.5 cm; unframed: 154.5 x 128 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on canvas
Maker Coates, George
Place made Australia: Victoria, Melbourne
Date made 1921
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Depicts a number of nurses from Royal Army Medical Corps, Australian Army Nursing Service or Queen Alexandra's Imperial Army Nursing Service with a patient in bed and others arriving at the hospital ward in Wandsworth and nursing staff attending to them. From April 1915 to April 1919 George Coates served with the Royal Army Medical Corps at 3rd London General Hospital at Wandsworth (along with fellow artists A H Fullwood, Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton). In 1919 he was commissioned to do portrait work for the Australian War Records section. Coates also did commissions for the Canadian War Office. 'The first Australian wounded to arrive in England from Gallipoli' is the title/description Coates gave this picture in his letter of 25 January 1921 to the War Memorial's then Director, J Treloar. On purchasing the work, the War Memorial titled it: 'Arrival of First Australian wounded from Gallipoli at Wandsworth Hospital' on 2.3.1921. The title was subsequently changed to : 'Arrival of the first Australian wounded from Gallipoli at Wandsworth Hospital, London'.

George Coates (1869-1930) studied painting under L. Bernard Hall between 1895-96 acquiring both respect for the painter's craft and the approach of the Munich School. He won a travelling scholarship in 1896 and went to London next year before moving to Paris, where he worked at the Académie Julian and studied under Jean Paul Laurens. In Paris Coates renewed an acquaintance with a fellow art student, Dora Meeson (1869-1955) who later became his wife. Coates and Meeson established themselves in Chelsea, London where they became members of an extensive circle of Australian expatriate artists. Coates established himself as one of London's leading portrait painters, where he lived until returning to Australia in 1921, and his realism and representational style emphasized a harmonious range of low tones, with a detailed and painstaking approach.