Oh my. Breath-taking.
I tried to photograph it myself, instead of using stock imagery, but I was defeated by bright light reflections.
When I was a kid, the art gallery in town was my wonderland, my little mind was writing elaborate adventure stories, making up the before and after to the scenes I gazed upon, I knew little of the Odyssey, and when I did get to learn of greek mythology, I often felt disappointed by the stories that were to replace my own. Because I'd already spent rather a long time in the Maritime Museum, I only got to see the ground-floor galleries in the Ferens before he attendants started turning out lights and ushering people out, maybe I'll get to go back and see the upper floor some time.
I did see Lady Elizabeth Butler's painting of "The Return from Inkerman", no mermaids here, but wounded and weary soldiers, in the Crimean war.
What stands out for me in this painting, again, is the faces. Young men carrying a wounded comrade, weary men, wounded men.
Lady Butler was something of an iconoclast, she pictured the grand scenes of heroic charges, but also the aftermath, the carnage, the broken men, the cost in real terms, of war.
Queen Victoria was amongst the buyers of her Crimean War paintings. (Butler continued to paint into her old age, dying in 1933).
Now this only concerns myself — I was severely wounded, and well cared for, every one knows how the day ended, and it should also be known that although the whole of the Regt. was not taken into action the remainder being in the Trenches, the casualties exceeded the number of any Corps engaged Guards excepted.
(Signed) James Campbell
Sgt. 20th. Regt."
Here's another Lady Butler painting,, again a part of my childhood, it hangs in Leeds Art Gallery. "Scotland Forever!", ( 'Scotland Forever!' is the war cry of the traditional Scottish regiments. It was most famously used by the Scots Greys on their timely and victorious charge at Waterloo in 1815)
By the end of this charge, 107 riders would be killed, 97 wounded, and 228 horses of the original 416 lost.
"Lady Butler writes, 'I twice saw a charge of the Greys before painting "Scotland for ever!" and I stood in front to see them coming on. One cannot, of course, stop too long to see them close.'"