Transported from the quiet, tree-filled landscapes of rural Buckinghamshire to the trenches of the Ypres Salient in northern France, Nash was horrified by the “frightful nightmare” he witnessed there. He deployed the visual language he had developed in England – using natural phenomena to reflect human experience – to the ravaged environment. In this painting, the fragile, wasted trees reflect the fatigue of the soldiers in the foreground.
Spring in the Trenches, Ridge Wood
Aftermath, Paul Nash
60.9 x 50.8 cm
Oil paint on canvas
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on canvas, 60.9 x 50.8 cm © Tate Photo: ©IWM (Art.IWM 1154)
Paul Nash was fascinated with Britain’s ancient past and spent time in southern England exploring the downs and coastal areas. Equally inspired by the equinox and the phases of the moon, he used all these influences in his work, interpreting his environment according to a unique, personal mythology, evolving throughout his career.