John Nash’s Harvesting

Michael Prodger at The New Statesman:

There is little evidence in Harvesting, a charming and amusing picture of harvesters, rabbit catchers, idlers and canoodlers that the artist, John Nash (1893-1977), was a painter haunted by his experiences of the First World War. In 1917 his regiment, the Artists Rifles, was involved in a counter-attack against the Germans near Cambrai. As the men went over the top, he recalled, there was silence and then: “Suddenly the Germans opened up and that seemed to be every machine gun in  Europe…” Of the 80 men who climbed out of the trenches, only 12 returned alive and unfounded: Nash was one of them. Although his brother Paul was a better known war artist, John’s 1918 painting of the episode, Over the Top, poignantly captures the leaden-footed fatalism of the soldiers – not just weary but life-weary – as they trudge into no man’s land towards their deaths.

more here.