Art & History

Echoes of the Great War: Haunting contemporary photography by Peter Cattrell

A new exhibition marking 100 years since the Battle of the Somme is set to open at Weston Park this April. Echoes of the Great War will feature evocative images of the remnants of the Western Front by photographer Peter Cattrell, alongside archival materials including artwork, letters and maps.

The Battle of the Somme was the deadliest of the First World War. Fought between July and November 1916 near the Somme River in France, it was one of the bloodiest military battles in history. On the first day alone, the British suffered more than 57,000 casualties, and by the end of the campaign the Allies and Central Powers would lose more than 1.5 million men.

Echoes of the Great War will show Peter Cattrell’s haunting contemporary photographs of the scarred landscapes of the Somme. Created over the past 20 years, the images depict the area around the village of Serre in Northern France where the Sheffield City Battalion was all but destroyed on 1 July 1916. Also on display will be Cattrell’s most recent work, including a series of photographs of shrapnel and fragments found on the battlefields, as well as images of Redmires and the Hallam moors near Sheffield where the Battalion trained before being sent to the trenches.

Cattrell’s interest in the Somme was sparked by a photograph of his great uncle, William Wyatt Bagshawe. He explained: “My photographs are of the landscape as it is now, in different seasons, taken over several years, showing traces of the battlefields. I am drawn to the frontline in personal homage, but also in awe of the significance these areas hold to so many people. Every yard has strategic importance, and each contour has a meaning.”

Echoes of the Great War – Photographs by Peter Cattrell opens at Sheffield’s Weston Park on Saturday 30 April 2016 and continues until 4 September 2016 – entry to the exhibition is free.

Via direct submission | All images courtesy of Peter Cattrell

Main image: Delville Wood, © Peter Cattrell

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