Friday, July 8, 2022

Artists/Photographers, etc. who were awarded special medals for outstanding bravery during the First World War

These are the names I have found so far.  If you know of any others please get in touch with me. Thank you. 

Geoffrey de Gruchy Barkas, MC, artist/film maker

Hans Bartle (1880 - 1943) - Austrian official WW1 artist. Iron Cross; Silver Medal for Bravery; the Knight's Cross of the Franz Joseph Order

Alan Edmund Beeton, MC

John Warwick Brooke DCM – official WW1 war photographer

John Cosmo Clark, MC (1897 – 1967) – British artist and art teacher; served in Artists Rifles WW1

Philip Lindsey Clark, DSO, ARBS (1889–1977)  - British sculptor. In December 1917, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O) for "...conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of the left flank company of the battalion."

Helena Gleichen OBE, DStJ  (1873 – 1947) – artist. For her First World War work, Helena was awarded the Italian Bronze Medal of Military Valour and was invested as a Dame of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem and as an OBE in 1920.

William Robert Gregory MC (1881 – 1918)  - Irish-born, RFC/RAF British airman, artist and cricketer; France made him a Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur in 1917

Antony Gibbons Grinling, MC – artist and sculptor

Carl W Herman, MM (1888 – 1955) – artist

Charles Sargeant Jagger MC ARA (1885 – 1934) British sculptor

Richard Barrett Talbot Kelly MC (1896-1971), Lieutenant Royal Field Artillery

Paul Maximilien Landowski, Croix de Guerre (1 June 1875 – 31 March 1961) – French Scultpor and WW1 camouflage artist 

A W Lloyd, MC – Arthur Wynell Lloyd (1883 - 1933) – British cartoonist

Walter Marsden MC (1882–1969) – sculptor

John B. McDowell, MC, BEM (1877 – 1954) – British film maker, director and cameraman during WW1

Waldo Peirce (December 17, 1884 – March 8, 1970) - an American painter, who for many years revelled in living the life of a bohemian expatriate.  Awarded the Croix de Guerre

William Charles Penn MC (1877 – 1968) - artist

Geneste Penrose MM (1889 – 1974) – artist 

Gerald Spencer Pryse MC (1882–1956) - British artist and lithographer.

E. Claude Rowberry, MM, (1896 - 1962) – artist

E.H. Shepard, MC (1879 – 1976) – artist (illustrator of A.A. Milne’s “Pooh” stories

William George Storm, MC (1882 - 1917) – Canadian artist

Dents Wells, BEM (1881-1973) served in the Artists Rifles during WWI; awarded a B.E.M. for gallantry.

Charles Arthur Wheeler, DCM (1880 - 1877) - New Zealand artist. Served in 22 Bn Royal Fusiliers; awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (1916) for his actions at Vimy Ridge

Sir George Hubert Wilkins MC & Bar (31 October 1888 – 30 November 1958).

Monday, May 30, 2022

Cyrus Cincinato Cuneo (1879 – 1916) – American-born official British WW1 artist

Few people these days have heard of official First World War Artist, Cyrus Cincinato Cuneo.    

Self Portrait
Cyrus Cuneo was born in San Francisco in America in 1879.  His parents were John Cuneo and his wife Annie, nee Garaboldi, who were of Italian origin.  Cyrus's brothers Rinaldo and Egisto also became artists but his sisters, Erminia, Clovinda and Evelina, preferred music.

Cyrus demonstrated artistic ability at an early age and worked hard to save enough money to go and study art in Paris.   With his brother Rinaldo, Cyrus, who was very athletic, became a boxer, entering contests and winning prizes.  Cyrus became a Flyweight Boxing Champion in San Francisco.   By 1896, he had enough money to go to Paris where he enrolled at the Academie Colarossi and was a pupil of the American artist James Whistler (1834 – 1903).

Six years later, Cyrus went to live in England.  In 1903, he married Nellie Marion Tenison, who was also an artist.  The couple met in Paris where Nellie had also studied with Whistler.   

In 1911, the couple lived in Uxbridge Road, Hammersmith, London with their two children Desmond and Terence, and Nellie's widowed mother, Frances Tenison.  Cyrus worked as an illustrator for publications such as "The Strand Magazine" and the "Illustrated London News".  He also produced illustrations for some of the best known writers of the era such as Arthur Conan Doyle,  E.W. Hornung (both of whom were members of the J.M. Barrie recreational cricket team) and H. Rider Haggard, to name but a few.  Cyrus was a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and his work was exhibited at The Royal Academy.

When King Edward VII died on 6th May 1910, Cyrus went without sleep for four nights and worked solidly to produce four double page spreads of the funeral for the "Illustrated London News".   

When the First World War broke out, Cyrus became an official War Artist.   One of his paintings was auctioned in 1915 and raised sufficient funds to purchase two ambulances which were sent to France bearing the inscription "The Cyrus Cuneo Ambulance". 

“A Thrilling Charge”, illustration by Cyrus Cuneo from “Told in the Huts: The YMCA Gift Book”, published 1916

“Retreat from Serbia” by Cyrus Cuneo 
Cyrus died on 23rd July 1916 after a brief illness at the age of 37 after having been accidentally stabbed with a hatpin at a dance. 

Cyrus’s son, Terence Cuneo, also became an artist and was an official artist of the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. His famous trade-mark – a mouse – featured in all of his paintings.


For more illustratons by Cyrus Cuneo, please see

Sources:  Carole Cuneo, President of the Cuneo Society
Find my Past and Free BMD 

Friday, May 27, 2022

Ernest Maitland T. Coffin (1868-1944) – British artist

With thanks to Historian Debbie Cameron for finding this artist

Ernest Maitland T. Coffin was born on 13th December 1868 in Stoke Damerel, Devonshire, UK.    Stoke, also referred to by its earlier name of Stoke Damerel, is a parish, that was once part of the historical Devonport, UK.  In 1914, Devonport and Plymouth amalgamated with Stonehouse and the new town took the name of Plymouth. Since the amalgamation, Stoke has been an inner suburb of Plymouth in the English County of Devonshire. 

Ernest’s parents were Thomas Coffin, a surgeon and General Medical Practitioner, and his wife, Mary Augusta Coffin, known as Maria, nee Tause, who were married in March 1868.  Ernest had the following siblings: Ethel, b. 1870, Claud D'Eresby, b. 1875 and Algernon Crawford, b. 1875.

The family moved from Devonshire to live in London and by 1891, they were living in Hampstead and Ernest was studying medicine.  

In 1910, Ernest married Almeida Roberts and on the 1911 Census,  the couple were living in Westminster, London and Ernest’s occupation was listed as artist.  

Ernest produced a series of lithographs for the British Empire Exhibition held at Wembley, London April to October 1924. 

By 1939, Ernest and Almeida were living in Croydon, Surrey and Ernest’s occupation was listed as ‘artist – retired’.  Ernest died in December 1944.

The illustration by Coffin is from a magazine advertisement for insurance in “The Telegraph and Telephone Journal”, October 1917

Sources: Find my Past, Free BMD and “The Telegraph and Telephone Journal”, October 1917

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Louis Meyer (1869 – 1969) - American Artist and Sculptor

 With thanks to Chris Dubbs* for finding this “Puck” magazine of August 1917 - cover artwork by American artist and sculptor Louis Meyer (1869 – 1969) and poem “Patria’s Progress No. 3” by American Berton Braley (1882 – 1966)

Born in Milwaukee, Louis Mayer studied at the Wisconsin Art Institute, before traveling to Europe where he attended the Weimar Art School and the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, as well as the Académie Julian in Paris. He returned to his home state, taught at the Wisconsin School of Art, and help found the Society of Milwaukee Artists. He later moved to Fishkill, New York, where he took up sculpting. Eventually he settled in Carmel, California.

“Puck” was the first successful humour magazine published in the United States containing colourful cartoons, caricatures and political satire of the issues of the day. It was founded in 1871 as a German-language publication by Joseph Keppler, an Austrian-born cartoonist. The first English language edition of “Puck” was published in 1877, covering issues like New York City's Tammany Hall, presidential politics, and social issues of the late 19th century to the early 20th century. The magazine ceased publication in 1918.

"Puckish" means "childishly mischievous". This led Shakespeare's Puck (from his play “A Midsummer Night's Dream”) to be recast as a charming boy and used as the title of the magazine. “Puck” was the first magazine to carry illustrated advertising and the first to successfully adopt full-color lithography printing for a weekly publication.

* Chris Dubbs is the author of several WW1 books:
"An Unladylike Profession: American Women
War Correspondents in World War 1"
(Potomac Books, Nebraska, 2020)


"American Women Reporters in World War One"

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Ion Bărbulescu - B’Arg - (16 December 1887 - 1 November 1969) - Romanian artist

With thanks to Ognyan Hristov for finding quite so many amazing artists, among them B'Arg

Ion  Bărbulescu signed his work B'Arg. He was a Romanian painter, illustrator and journalist, who was mainly active between the two World Wars. 

Born in Odobesti, Ion inherinted his interest in the arts from his grandfather, a church painter. He had regular features in Toamna, Revista Copiilor si a Tinerimii (Children and Youth Magazine) and Dimineata Copiilor (Morning Children) as early as 1906, while his first solo exhibition was in Bucharest in 1915.

B'Arg commented on social and cultural events in both his drawings and articles, that were printed in magazines like Adevărul (1907-1948), Adevărul Literar şi Artistic” (1921-1948) and Cuvântul Liber (1933-1936). 

His many writings and studies of the arts and cultural scene provide an interesting account of the social, political, moral and human standards of the Romanian society during the 1910-1940 period.

B'ARg's Painting Soldier reading a letter in a shelter during the The Battle of Mărășești, WW1.  

The Battle took place between  6 August 1917 and 3 September 1917 and was the last major battle between the German Empire and the Kingdom of Romania on the Romanian Front during World War I. Romania was mostly occupied by the Central Powers, but the Battle of Mărășești kept the northern region of the country free from occupation.

Posted by Ognyan Hristov on the Facebook Page Artists of the First World War on 31 January 2022

Brake Baldwin (1885 - 1915) – British artist

With thanks to Historian Debbie Cameron for finding this artist and his beautiful painting of the family’s cook darning socks during a Zeppelin Raid in WW1

Born John Brakewell Baldwin in Eltham, Kent in 1885, Brake's parents were John Baldwin, a Civil Engineer, and his wife, Sarah A. Baldwin, nee Clarke.  Educated at Forest School, Walthamstow, Brake went on to study art.  

On 6th April 1911, Brake married Edith Mary Wilson in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.  Edith was the daughter of Edith Berridge (who was also an artist), and the stepdaughter of Thomas Berridge, an engineer. 

Between 1912 and 1914, Brake Baldwin's work was exhibited widely, frequently with famous artists such as Lavery, Orpen and Sargent at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, or alongside Glyn Philpot, Augustus John and Walter Sickert at the National Portrait Society. Brake’s work regularly received favourable write-ups in London newspapers. 

During the First World War, Brake lived in London and was the Quartermaster of the 31st London Division, Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.). He devoted himself unsparingly to Red Cross work and died after an operation for internal problems on 30 July 1915 at a London nursing home. The men of his Division paid a last tribute by forming an escort and bearing the coffin to the train at Paddington for the journey to Leamington Spa where the funeral was held.

Sources:  Find my Past, Free BMD and

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Frank Algernon Stewart (1877-1945) - British artist


With thanks to Ognyan Hristov for discovering this amazing artist who was also a war correspondent during the Boer War.

Frank was born in Croydon, UK on 16th October 1977.  His parents were Ebernezer Stewart, a seed crusher, and his wife, Mary Ann Stewarat, nee Betts.    Educated in Hastings, Frank studied art under George Ward in Rochester, Fred Brown at the Slade, and Frank Calderon at the School of Animal Painting. Frank became a war artist for “The Illustrated London News” and in October 1899 went to Africa where he saw action at Colenso, Spin Kop, Monti Christo and the releif of Ladysmith during the Second Boer War.

Invalided home, Frank went to Paris in 1901, to study at the Académie Julian with Rodolphe Julian.  In 1903, he married Eliza Jane Brown in Havant, Hampshire.  The couple lived in Croydon but Eliza Jane died in December 1905.   

Sketch by Frank of General Buller riding in to greet General White outside the Town Hall in Ladysmith - 28 February 1900   Sketched in situ by Frank Algernon Stewart, the official Boer War artist of the London Illustrated News who came to South Africa in October 1899.

The Surrey Yeomanry on the Struma Valley Front, Salonika 1917-1918. The Evening Wireless - Komarjan Bridge. By Frank Algernon Stewart .

During the First World War, Frank served in the King Edward's Horse, Norfolk Yeomanry. Frank was a keen huntsman and his work was predominantly of hunting scenes. In later life he was forced to give up hunting as the result of an operation, but he continued to follow the hounds on foot, making sketches of hounds running.

By 1939, Frank had re-married and he and his wife, Muriel Winifred, lived in Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, where he died in June 1945. 

NOTE:  The Académie Julian was a private art school for painting and sculpture founded in Paris, France, in 1867 by French painter and teacher Rodolphe Julian (1839–1907) that was active from 1868 until 1968. The Academy remained famous for the number and quality of artists who attended during the great period of effervescence in the arts in the early twentieth century.  After 1968, the Academy integrated with ESAG Penninghen.

William Frank Calderon and Charles Edward Johnson, a landscape artist, started the School of Animal Painting at 54 Baker Street, London in April 1895 and Frank Calderon was the school’s Principal until 1916.