Category Archives: exhibition

Artists Under Fire

Drawing of soldier in trench

Eric Kennington, Into the Trenches, 1917 image © Ashmolean Museum (WA1919.31.16)

The Ashmolean Musem has created an online exhibition of art on paper created during the First World War. The ‘Artists Under Fire:  Remembering the Great War 1914-1918’ contains a collection of images grouped according to theme, such as ‘Dressing the Part’, ‘Tending the Wounded’, ‘From Dock to Deck’ and ‘In Memoriam’.

[The exhibition] includes a range of images that reveal the effects of the war on soldiers and civilians alike, as seen through the eyes of contemporary artists.

From September 23rd to December 20th 2015, a physical exhibition based on the material will be displayed at the Ashmolean Museum Broadway. This is a rare chance to see the material exhibited, as many items are too fragile to be kept on permanent display. More information about the exhibition at

Those who cannot make it to Broadway can still enjoy the online exhibition at

Magdalen and the Great War

Magdalen inviteThis term’s Magdalen College Library & Archives Talk will feature Dr Robin Darwall-Smith, Magdalen College Archivist, talking about ‘Magdalen and the Great War’.
Robin will discuss the impact of the First World War on Magdalen
College, and among the themes he will consider are: the College in the summer of 1914; how Magdalen functioned during the war and who was there during this time; what happened to its members on the front; and how the College chose to remember the war afterwards.

Including a chance to see a related exhibition in our Old Library, which was curated by Robin and our Archives Assistant, Ben Taylor.

Monday 24th November (7th week), 17.30 Magdalen College Summer Common Room, Cloisters III
All welcome, RSVP to

First World War Display at the Oxford Central Public Library

As we reflect upon the 98th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, there could be no better time to explore the wealth of literature (both fiction and non-fiction) centred on the Great War of 1914-1918. If you would like to extend your knowledge on the conflict and/or explore a new and interesting perspective then take some time to visit the Oxford Central Public Library as it is currently running a display of its First World War books, DVDs and music CDs (level 1). There is also a range of excellent reference works available for study in the Reference Library (level 2). All the items on display are available for loan during opening hours and if you would like to find out more about the library, please see the Oxfordshire Libraries Website for further information:


Solider reading in the trenches © National Library of Scotland

lib Ox

New WW1 themed display at the Oxford Central Library

The Great War: Personal Stories from Downing Street to the Trenches, 1914-1916 [Bodleian Exhibition 2014]

This is an update on earlier posts about the First World War exhibition at the Bodleian Library. The final title has been agreed. It will run from 12 June until 2 November 2014.

JJ Poster 80

Parliamentary Recruiting Committee Poster no. 80, from the John Johnson collection.


Using letters and diaries of politicians, soldiers and civilians, all in some way connected with Oxford University, the exhibition will relate contemporary experiences of the Great War. It concentrates on the years 1914 to 1916, from the outbreak of war to the end of the battle of the Somme and the fall of Asquith. One of the themes of the exhibition is the challenge of leadership during wartime, and it will feature a variety of manuscript and print materials revealing different experiences and perspectives.  It includes letters of three Oxford-educated Prime Ministers: H.H. Asquith was brought down by the war, and Harold Macmillan’s experiences in the trenches were the foundation of his political career.  Clement Attlee fought at Gallipoli. Private papers of politicians relate stories from the Cabinet where aims and strategy were debated, detailing arguments and personality clashes not noted in the official record.  Letters of Oxford alumni who served as junior officers in the trenches on the western front and in far flung parts of the empire convey not only their experiences but also their ideas and beliefs about the war.  In Oxford academics engaged in fierce public debate about the war, while in one Essex village, the local rector compiled a diary to record the impact of war on his community, forming a chronicle which he passed on to the Bodleian Library at the end of each year. The rich print resources of the Library, including trench maps, posters, pamphlets and books, many acquired during the war, provide a backdrop to the personal stories.

The exhibition is part of a series of three different but connected exhibitions in three countries looking at ‘War in the Archives’. The Bodleian exhibition is the second of the three, between August 1914 Literatur und Krieg at the Deutsches Literaturarchiv, Marbach,  which opened last week, and 1914, La Mort des Poètes at the Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire de Strasbourg, which will open in the Autumn of 2014.  At the core of the partnership is the German expressionist poet Ernst Stadler, born in 1883 in Alsace, then part of Germany, educated at Strasbourg and Oxford where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He was killed by a British shell at Zandvoorde in October 1914 in an action noted in the diary of brigadier Ernest Makins now among the Bodleian’s collections. In the Bodleian’s own archive there is an entry in the register for Ernst Stadler of Magdalen College, admitted to the Library to study English literature in November 1906.