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Poignant Battle of Somme artwork unveiled at Dudmaston Hall

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: May 04, 2014

The students' poignant Battle of the Somme artwork which will be on display at Dudmaston Hall

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POIGNANT artwork recreating the horror of the First World War trenches was due to be officially unveiled at Dudmaston Hall yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon.

The National Trust attraction near Bridgnorth is exhibiting the Battle of the Somme made from brown paper and cardboard by students from Birmingham City University.

Originally on display at the university for just two weeks the art work was due to be re-cycled.

RAF Shawbury responded to public appeals and came to the rescue housing it in their Mess until last week when they handed it over to the National Trust.

OC Maj Dufton of 660 Squadron Army Air Corps, based at RAF Shawbury, officially opened the artwork display in the Old Kitchen Gallery.

On show until the end of October, the installation shows the hardships and struggles of soldiers on the battlefield.

Life-size trenches, a dug out and injured soldiers are some of the sets that have been created out of brown paper.

Lucy Hancock, one of the artists, said: "I never expected the response that we've had from the paper project. It's been challenging rebuilding and adapting it at new venues but I've really enjoyed it."

Bennie Fung, another of the artists, commented on the public response to the piece "…it is rare to see such patriotism exhibited…it is truly touching as an artist."

With a budget of only £450 and less than four weeks to complete the installation First Year Theatre, Performance and Event Design students also composed sound-effects and impressive lighting to create colour. They drew on inspiration from the work of leading war poets Wilfred Owen, Woodbine Willy and Charles Hamilton Sorley.

This will be the last move for the artwork and Dudmaston have been asked by the students to 'lay it to rest' at the end of the season.

Visitor Experience and Conservation Manager at Dudmaston, Tessa Lovell, said: "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to display this thought-provoking and innovative installation. It continues the last owner, Sir George Labouchere's, love of supporting up and coming artists, and also links with the loss that the family suffered at the Somme."

Dudmaston has close links with the First World War and will this year be telling the story of Sir Geoffrey Wolryche-Whitmore who served on the Eastern Front in Egypt plus the effects on life on the Estate in their exhibition Conflict and Continuity?

Dudmaston Hall is open Sundays to Thursdays from 1pm to 5pm, (2pm to 5.30pm on Sundays). For further information visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dudmaston

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