Exhibition Visit – Maidstone, Sept ’16
This exhibition centres on two paintings by local artist Frank Hyde, depicting events which place a hundred years ago. This painting shows the horrors of military conflict at Trones Wood, a battle fought by the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent regiment as part of the Somme offensive in France.
In contrast the painting in the adjacent gallery is of a scene on our doorstep, at Maidstone East railway station. Here the wounded are returning from war on the Continent to the care of medical units and the compassion of the local people.
The exhibition had many original letter written by soldier about to commence battle and for some it was there last communication to their families. The losses in the battle of Trones Wood were catastrophic by any standards and many Kentish villages and towns lost most of their menfolk in this single battle. Other exhibitions included artificial legs and arms that looked impossible to use by modern standards and many opted to not use them such was their limited effectiveness.
Arrival of a Convoy of Wounded Soldiers at Maidstone Station, Kent, 1916 – Frank Hyde
Trones Wood – Frank Hyde
Additional works in Maidstone Collection
A couple of works in the gallery caught my eye as I was moving around. The two works I have chosen here were also by local artists or those that had local connections to Maidstone.
Hyde painted with John Singer Sargent spending time travelling and painting together. The painting alongside is from their travels to Italy. The use of blues to depict distance landscape the sea and the sky are exemplary with much to teach anyone looking at it.
Hughes uses the light from windows to create focal points by utilising them like spotlights on to the faces of his subjects. He captures the sense of longing as the hungry children stare at the pie whilst they should be concentrating on their prayers. The cat is also keen to get into the action and grab some pie!