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Leonard McComb RA, Sgt. Bert Bowers

Sgt. Bert Bowers, 1991

Leonard McComb RA (1930 - 2018)

RA Collection: Art

This portrait of a Chelsea Pensioner, Sgt. Bert Bowers, was painted in 1991 over a period of 5 months, during which time McComb would collect him from Chelsea Royal Hospital for about 20 sittings. The depiction of an old soldier has a resonance in 18th Century 'fancy' pictures as this kind of subject was popular. The experience and hardship of a soldier's life was believed to be etched on their face, and could therefore provide a kind of generic type that artists could transform into ancient prophets or patriarchs in historical subjects.

In this work the intensity of the sitter's gaze and the dominance of the red jacket is matched by the dense touches of line and colour that play across the surface of the painting giving a luminosity and energy which reflects the indomitable spirit of the soldier.

Object details

Sgt. Bert Bowers
Leonard McComb RA (1930 - 2018)
Object type
Copyright owner
Oil on canvas

1400 mm x 914 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Diploma Work given by Leonard McComb RA accepted 1992

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