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Watercolour - War


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Egypt (painted)

  • Date:

    1871 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Haag, Carl R.W.S., born 1820 - died 1915 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour, on thick paper

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund, Shell International and the Friends of the V&A

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, case 89, shelf SCX, box 1

Haag was a prolific and successful painter in watercolours of narrative, genre and portrait subjects. He was born in Bavaria, and came to London in 1847 where he developed an elaborate watercolour technique and a set of appreciative patrons which included Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. Haag continued to paint predominately Eastern subjects for many years after his visit to Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon in 1858-1860. This watercolour and its companion Peace are two such examples, painted not long before he returned to Egypt in 1873.

The wounded drummer-boy is borne back to camp on his camel and the nearby battle is further indicated by the assorted weapons carried by the two soldiers. Haag may have intended to point a contrast between the young Nubian lad in his uniform of a nizam, or new-style regular soldier in the Egyptian army, and the older Arnavut (Albanian), many of whom had formerly been employed as irregular mercenaries. It is a very sanitized and sentimental view of war, (complete with colourful costumes and scarcely any injuries), only possible before the horrors of mass warfare with modern weapons generally impinged itself on the consciousness of insular Britain. In the year that this was painted, the 1870-1 Franco-Prussian war was taking place. Its reliance on railway time-tables for mass troop movements, and transport of modern artillery, foreshadowed the technological nature of all future wars.

Physical description

Watercolour drawing

Place of Origin

Egypt (painted)


1871 (painted)


Haag, Carl R.W.S., born 1820 - died 1915 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour, on thick paper

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed with title, signed and dated Carl Haag 1871.


Height: 51.9 cm, Width: 36.8 cm

Object history note

According to Rodney Searight: - `Bt fr R.Appleby, Aug, 1967, £5'.

Historical context note

Haag may have intended a contrast between the young Nubian, in his uniform of a nizam or new-style regular soldier, and the older Arnavut (Albanian), many of whom had been irregular mercenaries. A pencil sketch on tracing paper of this subject and another of its pair, Peace, were among `a large folio of tracings of Carl Haag's original compositions', sold Sotheby, 29.4.82 (73).

Descriptive line

Watercolour, `War', 1864, by Carl Haag RWS




Watercolour drawing

Subjects depicted

Camels; Drums; Soldiers




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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