George Butler in 1932.

George Butler in 1932.

The story behind this object is an unusual one.

The owner was browsing in a charity shop when she came across a magazine from 1929 stashed full of colour copies of Pre-Raphealite paintings. However, mixed among these interesting reproductions was an etching signed and dated by George E Butler, one of two official War Artists for New Zealand during the First World War. There are almost 100 of his works in New Zealand's National Collection of War Art. 

The Lille Gates in 1917. This photograph is in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Lille Gates in 1917. This photograph is in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This etching depicts the Lille Gates in in Ypres, Belgium. The gates were one of two entrances into the fortified town and carried that name because they once opened onto the road to the town of Lille. This area was home to some of the most horrific battles in the First World War for New Zealand Soldiers. The etching itself attempts to show some of the devastation and desolation caused by the war. 

The owner of this work of etching has kindly allowed us to digitise it at a high resolution for research and educational purposes only.

UPDATE: Massey University has purchased this work and it will be hung in the Old Main Building, Turitea Campus in Palmerston North.

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