Rifle Brigade - A Great War Memorial Design, 1917
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Measurements: Overall: 22cm (8.5in) x 18.5cm (7.5in) x 7.5cm (3in)
In the Arts and Crafts manner, a reduced scale model inscribed ‘Gilbert Walter [sic] Lyttelton . Youngest son of Edward 87th Bishop of of Winchester & Lavinia his wife. of Winchester College & Christchurch Oxford, Lieut 7th Battn. Talbot Rifle Brigade. Who worshipped God in this place & passed through death into life at Hooge in Belgium in the Great War. July 30 1915 aged 23 years.’ Signed to the reverse ‘Nelson Dawson / Fecit / 1917’.
Gilbert Walbert Lyttelton Talbot (1891-1915) was the grandson on his mother’s side of the 4th Lord Lyttelton. On his paternal side Gilbert was the great grandson of Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, 2nd Earl Talbot, K.G., P.C. At Oxford he followed his father, grandfather and elder brother as President of the Union. He volunteered at the outbreak of war in 1914 and lost his life leading his platoon in a counterattack against the German flamethrower assault on the British position at Hooge in 1915. A memoir of this life of unfulfilled promise indicates an uncomplicated approach to his duty. “It was the deep and earnest conviction in the righteousness of the cause for which England joined the War, that made Gilbert a keen soldier, and this conviction grew and deepened as the months went by. He did not wish any more than before the outbreak of War to take up soldiering as a profession, but he did become a most keen, efficient and strict officer, delighting in the learning of so much that was new and interesting, and especially in the responsibility of having the fifty-four men of his platoon under his direct control, and watching their development and excellent progress. The bottom of it all and of the kindling enthusiasm was the great cause of freedom for which the Allies were fighting.” He gave his name to Talbot House, the famous soldier’s club at Poperinghe started by this brother the Rev. Neville Talbot, and the Rev ‘Tubby’ Clayton, and from which grew the Christian movement 'Toc H’. TOC was the British Army signaller's code for 'T', and H was ‘H'.
Nelson Ethelred Dawson (1859-1941) was an important figure in the Arts and Crafts movement, as a potter, watercolour painter, jeweller, silversmith, metalworker, etcher, print-maker and writer on artistic subjects. He was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire and was educated at Stamford School. He studied architecture under a local architect before moving to London, where he operated his workshop first from Chelsea and later from the rear of his townhouse in Chiswick. He exhibited his art throughout England including at the Royal Academy and was elected an Associate of the Royal Society of Painters in Water Colours and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Engravers. With his artist wife Edith Robinson, he revived the Renaissance practice of enamelling jewellery. Among many commissions, they designed the mallet and trowel used by Queen Victoria to lay the foundation stone of the V & A Museum in 1899 and a casket presented to President Woodrow Wilson when he visited England during the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.