The Remnants of an Army

The Remnants of an Army by Elizabeth Thompson (Lady Butler), 1846-1933. 1879. Oil on canvas. 132.1 x 233.7 cm. Courtesy of Tate Britain. Click on image to enlarge it

As Jacqueline Banerjee points out in her detailed review of Artist and Empire: Facing Britain's Imperial Past, a 2016 exhibition at Tate Britain, Thompson here demonstrates “the human cost of empire. Inspired by a debacle of 1839, it shows the sole survivor of a huge caravan of soldiers — a caravan made up of Indian sepoys and attendants, as well as British and European soldiers – struggling towards the British fort. Wounded, clinging to the saddle of his beaten horse, Dr William Brydon, an assistant surgeon in the Bengal Army, is valiant only in endurance, and he is almost past that.”

Related material


Smith, Alison, David Blayney Brown, and Carol Jacobi, eds. Artist and Empire: Facing Britain's Imperial Past. London: Tate Publishing, 2015.

Last modified 19 March 2016