British Art at War: Bomberg, Sickert and Nash

Paul Nash - The Ghosts of War

Series 1 - Episode 1 Paul Nash - The Ghosts of War



In his latest triptych, hard-working Andrew Graham-Dixon studies the lives and work of three oft-neglected painters. The first, Paul Nash, developed a childhood love of nature that was shattered by his Great War experiences as a soldier then an official artist. Where once his landscapes were infused with youthful, even spiritual idealism, they now contained cinder-black trees, twisted artillery and flooded craters.

A postwar breakdown gave rise to enigma and surrealism in his output, though another official posting – for the RAF in 1939 – ironically allowed his creativity to soar. Overall it’s a sad, unforgettable study of a turbulent mind.


Presenter Andrew Graham-Dixon explores how three British artists - David Bomberg, Walter Sickert and Paul Nash - responded to the cataclysm of the First World War. He begins by focusing on the work of Paul Nash, who sketched the battlefields of Flanders near Ypres on 25th May 1917. He was so fixed on his work that he tripped and fell into a trench, breaking his ribs - an accident that went on to save his life and influence his later work.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Andrew Graham-Dixon
Director Patrick Dickinson
Documentary Arts Education