12th Lancers in Pickfords’ Motors Surprise Uhlans, 1914
12th Lancers in Pickfords’ Motors Surprise Uhlans, 1914
12th Lancers in Pickfords’ Motors Surprise Uhlans, 1914
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12th Lancers in Pickfords’ Motors Surprise Uhlans, 1914

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Overrall: 60cm (23.6in) x 89cm (35in)

Provenance: Lloyd 'Harry' Baxendale (1858-1937) of Greenham Lodge, Berkshire, heir to Pickfords’ haulage.

Ink and watercolour heightend with bodycolour on paper. Framed and glazed.

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The present illustration by the equestrian artist Lionel Edwards ‘under the supervision of an officer lately returned from the front’ appeared in The Graphic on 24 October 1914  with the following accompanying caption. ‘As is well known, motor omnibuses and vans of all kinds have been requisitioned for the use of our Expeditionary Force and are playing an important part in the Great War. The sketch depicts an incident of the recent fighting, in which one of Pickford's familiar motor vans figured prominently-and creditably also, thanks to the pluck of the driver and the armed escort. A small British convoy of three or four vans and lorries was on its way to the troops at the front at night, when a party of Uhlans, appearing suddenly, blocked the road and demanded surrender. The driver of the leading van at once put on speed and drove slap into the midst of the enemy, while his armed escort stood up and made devastating use of his rifle against the German lancers. The latter, surprised by the motor's sudden assault, and placed at a disadvantage by the panic of their horses, afforded easy targets at close range, and in a few moments bolted from the scene. The convoy reached its destination without further molestation.’

Lionel Dalhousie Robertson Edwards (1878-1966) specialised in equestrian painting and other aspects of English country life. He is best known for his hunting scenes but is also specialized in horse racing, shooting and fishing. He provided illustrations for Country Life, The Sphere, The Graphic, Punch and numerous books. He received his artistic training at Heatherley’s in London and at Frank Calderon's School of Animal Painting. At nineteen he became a member of the London Sketch Club, a private members' club for artists working in the field of commercial graphic art, mainly for newspapers, periodicals, and books. During the First World War he served as a Remount Purchasing Officer alongside Cecil Aldin and Sir Alfred Munnings, which he described as 'four solid years of nothing but horse.' He became a member of the Royal Institute in 1927 and was a regular exhibitor at Rowland Ward’s premises in Piccadilly.