Nissen hut, Mont St Quentin

Accession Number ART03413
Collection type Art
Measurement framed: 65 x 54.5 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on canvas
Place made France: Picardie, Somme, Mont St Quentin
Date made 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Depicts the interior of a Nissen hut used as officers' quarters by the 1st Division AIF. Beds and personal effects are evident in the background, and improvised heater and flowers in the foreground. James F Scott's (1877-1932) official war art is particularly informative, both due to his experiences as a soldier who had seen active service in the First World War, and also because of his physical proximity to key battles. He was selected from the ranks of soldiers in May 1918 to work as an artist with the Australian War Records Section and was able to quickly interpret and record crucial moments in Australian military history. He reportedly produced Mont St. Quentin one hour after the hill was taken by the 2nd Australian Division, and portrayed Bayonvillers three days into the offensive. Enlisting in the 50th Battalion, AIF in May 1916, he served in France and later sustained injuries to his hand and neck in September 1916 at Zonnebeke. Following this, Scott suffered from poor health, and contemporaries believed the illnesses and injuries he incurred during the war contributed to his death. Scott was also an accomplished illustrator before the war, and during the conflict produced numerous black and white illustrations about life in the army. In 1918, he contributed pieces to the short-lived publication about the AIF in Europe, 'The Dinkum Australian'. After his commission ended in 1920, Scott subsisted on a small war pension in London, and struggled to make a living as an artist.