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Paul Gough
'Tales from the bushy-topped tree'
A Brief Survey of Military Sketching

A version of this paper first appeared in the annual review of the Imperial War Museum, London, Nov. 1995, ISBN 1-870432-19-4

This paper looks at an aspect of war art that has rarely been examined : reconnaissance and panorama sketches made by soldiers specially trained in freehand observational drawing. For over 200 years the discipline of field sketching has been an important element in fieldcraft, attracting professional artists (who were forced to learn a range of new technical skills) while giving artistically talented soldiers the opportunity to practice their hands in unusually demanding circumstances. Many of the principles of field sketching were published in training manuals and taught in the lecture hall and in the field. Even after the introduction of aerial photography, freehand sketching was considered a crucial part of field intelligence and, even more surprising, line drawing is still used today as an element in observation and target indication. This article draws upon panoramas, sketches and instruction manuals held in the Departments of Art, Photography and Printed Books; it also draws upon six weeks' work with the Royal Artillery and Royal Navy during the making of a television documentary which traced this untold story of war art.
    ' Not only how far away, but the way that you say it Is very important. Perhaps you may never get The knack of judging a distance, but at least you know How to
    report on a landscape: the central sector, The right of arc and that, which we had last Tuesday, And at least you know that maps are of time, not place, so far
    as the army Happens to be concerned - the reason being, Is one which need not delay us. Again, you know There are three kinds of tree, three only, the fir and
    the poplar, And those which have bushy tops to; and lastly That things only seem to be things.'

    (Part II. Judging Distances, from Lessons of the War by Henry Reed)
Military drawing was an element of the curriculum at the first military academy set up at Woolwich in 1741. The Rules and Orders required the Drawing Master to 'teach the method of Sketching Ground, the taking of Views, the drawing of Civil Architecture and the Practice of Perspective.' (1)

Possibly the most eminent artist associated with Woolwich was the watercolourist Paul Sandby who served as Drawing Master from 1768 until 1796. Sandby was then at the height of his fame and his appointment at Woolwich reflects the importance of drawing in the training of the artillery and engineer cadets. Under his guidance the quality of drawing was consistently high and a number of his pupils went on to prove themselves as expert draughtsmen, often making crucially important reconnaissance drawings and finely illustrated reports.(2)

During the Napoleonic Wars it was recognised that a skill in drawing could be of immense benefit in unmapped and unknown terrain. With the establishment of new Staff and junior military colleges in 1801 drawing became firmly established as an essential element in the training of infantry and cavalry officers. At the height of the war period the country was scoured for capable landscape draughtsmen to employ as drawing tutors. John Constable was interviewed in 1802 for the post of Drawing Master at the Junior Department in Marlow, but later rejected the offer arguing, that had he accepted
'it would have been a death blow to all my prospects of perfection in the Art I love'. (3)

On mainland Europe the trained officers were soon at work in the battlefield, reconnoitring unfamiliar ground, making detailed sketches of its topographical features and reporting back to superior officers. The value of an accurate drawing, however hastily made, was far superior to a verbal or written description and this highly trained team of officer-draughtsmen played a significant part in Wellington's peninsular campaign.

Constable's relief at turning down the military appointment is an important reminder of the disdain that many artists felt for topographic art. Whether for artillery or infantry use, military drawing puts a premium on producing an accurate report shorn of artistic and aesthetic trappings. To many landscape artists this 'tame delineation' of a view was regarded with scorn. The painter Thomas Gainsborough wrote of the opprobrium cast upon artists who regarded themselves as topographers, rather than interpreters of the landscape. Naturally, the military mind require a factual, accurate drawing, however clumsy, rather than an idealised landscape picture.

Drawing for military purposes can be separated into two distinct fields that roughly correspond to the different arms of the military : on the one hand are those drawings made during mobile reconnaissance - usually by light cavalry or units of advanced infantry - and used to record intelligence about enemy positions and key terrain; on the other hand are drawings known as panoramas which have been made from a static position, usually an elevated vantage point that commands an uninterrupted view of the enemy front. These are normally drawn by specially trained artillery or engineer officers and are vital for indicating targets and determining range and arc of fire. The different skills required for each type of drawing can be traced in the many official and commercial manuals that were published in the nineteenth century. During this period proficiency in drawing was widely acknowledged as offering an advantage to boys competing for places at the military academies. Yet the varying qualities in the teaching of drawing across the 'public' and middle-class schools constantly undermined the calibre of cadet applications to the military colleges. Both the Clarendon Commission of 1864 and the Taunton Commission four years later remarked on the erratic quality of art teaching in schools.(4)

The unimaginative style of most military manuals of the late nineteenth century reflect the low status of drawing in the army's thinking. Invariably, freehand sketching was relegated to an item of 'special interest' and regarded as little more than an adjunct to map work. Manual writers leaned heavily on the conventional language and symbols of military cartography, transforming a lesson in landscape drawing into little more than a matter of contours and geometric symbols.

Two manuals in
'Rapid Field Sketching and Reconnaissance' of 1889 and 1903, for example, laid heavy emphasis on map and compass work, with only a cursory description of the merits of freehand drawing. Commercial manuals such as Major R.F.Legge's Military Sketching and Map Reading (1906) ignored observational work completely, concentrating instead on mapwork, measurement of slopes, magnetic bearings and using the service compass.(5) One of the first manuals to actively encourage freehand drawing is The Active Service Pocket Book written by 2nd Lt.Bertrand Stewart and published in1907.(6) In it Stewart dedicated eight pages to freehand sketching, offering step-by-step advice on drawing in outline, using the pencil as a measuring instrument and mastering the vexing problem of perspective. The manual is clearly aimed at the complete novice. Stewart, for instance, recommends the construction of an oblong drawing frame attached to a stick with a pointed end. The frame is to be divided at regular six inch intervals by stretched wire, thus forming a drawing grid which will help simplify any landscape seen through it. Drawing on gridded paper the soldier can make an exact outline copy of the view through the frame, though any problem over siting the frame, piercing hard ground and avoiding enemy detection are skipped over by the author.(7)

The hurried re-issue of a number of drawing manuals at the outbreak of war in 1914 was followed, over the next four years, with a flurry of training manuals - at least nine commercial and War Office books on topographical and panoramic sketching were available to soldiers of all ranks. Significantly, tuition in freehand drawing and map- reading had spread from being the preserve of the officer in the Regular Army to a craft capable of being learned by all. The Great War accelerated this development. Not only was the army able to draw upon an educated and intelligent workforce but the static nature of the fighting on the Western Front called for highly accurate intelligence on enemy dispositions. Observational drawing became an integral element in surveillance work.

Artistically talented soldiers of all rank soon found themselves sought out to work in the Camouflage Corps or for the Field Survey. Not all went willingly. Harry Bateman, having volunteered for service with the Royal Field Artillery, ignored a sergeant's request at their first parade for any artist present to make himself known. Bateman
'remained silent as he wanted to go and fight.' (8) Others found that their skills were deemed inappropriate: the painter and poet David Jones, serving with the 15th (London Welsh) Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers, had five years art school training to his credit when he was recommended to the 2nd Field Survey Company based at Second Army Headquarters at Cassel. But Jones appears to have lacked the requisite technical skills needed for map drawing and was instead sent to one of the Company's four observation groups as a Survey Post observer. Of no use in 'Maps' Jones did not last long as an observer - 'Got the sack from that job because of my inefficiency in getting the right degrees of enemy gunflashes'. (9) Others advertised their skills quite freely. Young artists Paul Maze and Adrian Hill were soon exercising their artistic talents in exposed forward positions. Maze worked for fifth Army intelligence, Hill combined his drawing abilities with his work in a Scouting and Sniping Section of the Honorable Artillery Company. After the war, he recalled a typical patrol into No Man's Land:
    I advanced in short rushes, mostly on my hands and knees with my sketching kit dangling round my neck. As I slowly approached, the wood gradually took a
    more definite shape, and as I crept nearer I saw that what was hidden from our own line, now revealed itself as a cunningly contrived observation post in one of
    the battered trees. (10)
Most of the military drawings made on the Western Front fall within the two categories of Reconnaissance Drawings and Panoramas. The former being intensive analyses of the micro-terrain of No Man's Land as seen through a trench periscope or pieced together from night patrols; the latter drawn from any elevation, however slight, which would afford a vantage over the entrenched enemy. It is also possible to divide these drawings and watercolours into two further groups: those made by professional or art-school trained soldiers and those made by soldiers specifically trained in military drawing.

From an art historical point of view the two types of military drawing have quite different origins. The great era of panoramic art was seventeenth century Holland. Masterly landscape painters such as Hobbema and de Koninck produced views of vast, seemingly endless plains in which the wide lateral extension and the raised vantage point reward the viewer with an unchallenged view of the entire landscape. Topographical painting, as we have seen, has a much less celebrated provenance being considered inferior to the idealised or poetic landscape. Topographical art was expected to supply information accurately and graphically without embellishment or unnecessary artistic effect. The true topographical artist was likened by one historian to an explorer who makes a visual account of his discoveries (11) - an apt description of such soldier- artists as Paul Maze and Leon Underwood who had to crawl out into No Man's Land to make many of their military drawings.

Like the Dutch painters, soldiers who drew panoramas for military use seem to be fascinated by the vast space open before them. The artillery panorama is designed to satisfy the gunner's thirst for information about the distance. Unlike drawings of the ruined terrain immediately in front of the trench lines, panoramas caught in a single sweep the prospect of 'the Promised Land' - that distant, unspoilt territory beyond the shambles of the battle zone. As the poet Henry Reed observed, these were as much landscapes about time as they were about space. In contrast, drawings made from the parapet or periscope are concerned with the minutiae of the landscape. The aim of the trench sketch was to analyse and itemise the key elements of No Man's Land so that trench raids and patrols could be planned within a highly controlled framework.

From a strictly operational point of view the artillery panorama differed from a front-line or reconnaissance drawing in three respects. The artillery drawing reported a single view from a particular Observation Post; it need only show a few prominent reference points drawn in a clear and unambiguous manner so as to indicate targets for observed fire; and it was drawn to maintain a record of artillery data on a particular battery front. The artillery panorama works on the same assumption as military mapping - to survey and transcribe a landscape will help neutralise the dangers of that terrain and eventually assure mastery over it. The discipline of panoramic drawing would reduce any landscape, however picturesque, into a series of immutable co-ordinates and fixed datum points.

Drawings made from reconnaissance patrols or from the lip of a trench are often less formalised than the artillery panorama. the descriptive language is less codified, they may combine a number of viewpoints and usually serve as visual elaboration for a longer written report .

One of the most remarkable examples of a front-line military draughtsman was the young painter Paul Maze. A French speaking, self-confessed adventurer, Maze worked first as an interpreter to the Royal Scots Greys in 1914, and later as a liaison officer for General Sir Hubert Gough, Fifth Army commander. He would regularly send Maze on sketching sorties to the front line where the young painter would fearlessly record his impressions of the battlefield. One of his first missions, in May 1915 was to sketch the 7th Division's objectives around Festubert, a task which required him to draw from the front line where he
'had to use a periscope and crane (his) neck over the sandbags quickly and peep'. Maze rarely departed from this hazardous technique. In March 1916, ignoring all regard for his own safety, he drew in the line every day:
    'My work was interesting. Bit by bit I dissected the ground with our field glasses, and I made drawings from every possible angle marking every obstacle which could
    hinder our advance'.(12) What then were the results of this extraordinary committment? William Rothenstein, an official war artist working south of the Somme in
    March 1918, recalled seeing at Fifth Army headquarters 'a long photograph, made from drawings pieced together, showing a considerable view of the German front',
    made by Maze 'creeping, day after day, beyond our front lines ... an act of rare courage and devotion'.(13)
Maze supplemented his trench drawings with information gleaned from aerial photographs, he also incorporated imaginary views taken as though from the enemy lines.(14) Unfortunately few of the drawings have survived. The five held by the Department of Art must be considered typical of his style. A large sketch of the Somme, dating from 1916, (15) has obviously been drawn from the lip of a trench. The parapet is broadly rendered in charcoal, a copse of trees in the middle distance is established with slabs of yellow paint and its perimeter edge is clearly defined with a single pencil line. The names of two villages have been hastily scrawled in the sky. For all his abilities as an artist, the drawing is, in fact, heavily dressed in the idiom of map- making - the copse is given a clear perimeter line, the conifers are rendered in the conventional language of cartography, houses are drawn as uniform blocks rather than as individual buildings. Maze adopts further map conventions in an even larger drawing of the battlefield around Hamel on the Somme in which the British front line is drawn in blue and the German line in red. Maze, however, was not able to finish the drawing : inscribed in the painter's hand at the bottom is the telling message 'could not go on through heavy shelling'. (16) Maze was clearly excited by the dangers of drawing near the fighting line and he relished his role as an explorer and recorder of the battlefield. His work earned him both injuries and decorations, and it gave him an unusual apprenticeship as a painter. Even at the front he occasionally forgot his military duty and became 'engrossed in form and colour'(17) but he was quite happy to be remembered as an artist who worked 'in shorthand'.(18)

Whereas Maze learned to adapt his drawing style for military purposes, other artists struggled to make the transition. William Roberts, the young Vorticist painter who was serving with the Royal Artillery in France, was told to accompany an officer to an observation post (OP) and draw the terrain beyond.
    From the OP I saw a completely featureless landscape, save here and there a few broken sticks of trees. I made a pencil drawing of this barren piece of ground, but
    what use my superiors would be able to make of this sketch I could not imagine.(19)
One artist who felt that it was not enough to entrust military drawing to bemused avant garde artists was the Artists Rifles' subaltern William Newton. A trainee architect, Newton contended that it was possible to teach a novice how to draw a battle landscape after just one lecture and two days drawing in the field. He laid out his ideas in a remarkable manual - Military Landscape Sketching and Target Indication - published commercially in 1916. (20) In the introduction, Lieut.Colonel H.A.R. May, commanding officer of the Artists Rifles, applauded Newton's system.

The test of each solution is whether a stranger can with ease and rapidity identify the exact place intended; and tested in this manner the results of his teaching have been most successful and many officers in the trenches have benefitted by the care and devotion he has given to his work.(21) In his opening definition Newton clarified the function of a military sketch. It
'is a form of report, without the ambiguity of language. It is graphic information. For information clearness is essential, and clearness is attained by two avenues: a) thought, b) draughtsmanship'. (22) In making this point, Newton noticeably distances himself from previous manual writers who invariably opted for heavily annotated sketches and for a pictorial language rooted in the conventions of maps. The real problem, continues Newton, is how to simplify the visual chaos of a landscape, especially a landscape damaged by battle.
    It is therefore necessary to analyse, to bring order out of chaos. For this purpose there are three main methods of analysis - separation of planes, encircling or framing
    in, division of a whole into parts.(23)
Possibly the most interesting of these three methods is the first - the separation of planes. Newton suggests that the draughtsman should try to imagine a landscape as a series of horizontal (but not straight) bands that stretch from one side of the paper to the other. It might help to imagine the country as something like the scenery of an outdoor exhibition with each ridge, hill, wood cut out of sheets of wood and laid one behind the other. Having done this, a point can successfully be marked on the drawing, its approximate distance from the viewer clearly indicated by the number and density of horizontal lines representing fields, meadows, tree lines in between the draughtsman and the point.

Newton's manual teems with such pragmatic advice. He emphasises the draughtsman's duty in guiding the eye to salient points in the landscape by using key devices in the terrain - an isolated chimney, a single red roof amongst black roofs, three silhouetted bushes on a crest line - as so many labels that indicate particular targets or tactically vital features. He avoids the tendency of other instructors to construct complex drawing frames, or string and protractor gizmos (24). Instead, he argues for clarity of purpose at all times, for always using a sharp pencil and throwing the india rubber away - 'the aim should rather be to do a clear sketch from the first, because in the field opportunities of subsequent polish are limited'. He continues in fine style:
    A line should be as sharp and precise as a word of command. A wavering line which dies away carries no conviction or information because it is the product of a
    wavering mind. Every line should be put in to express something. Start sharply and finish sharply. Press on the paper.(25)
Such instruction may sound a little severe but it was born from a belief in the superiority of careful observational drawing as a method of study and analysis. Without the rigorous discipline advocated by Newton, military drawing can easily descend into a parody of itself - dull, repetitive diagrams in which trees have been reduced to a formula, producing a landscape image that resembles 'nursery wall paper'. This was due in part to the consequences of drawing trees in outline which tends to make them resemble their cartographic equivalent - either bushy topped deciduous or 'Christmas tree' firs. It is also the consequence of drawing in outline alone and so accentuating the top line of trees and buildings with a minimum of shading and colour. The end results, however, had a curious aesthetic appeal and many military drawings began to resemble the arts and crafts style woodcut illustrations that were popular in the first decades of the century. The Studio magazine was quick to note the similarity. In February 1916 an illustrated article applauded the army's work in broadening the education of the common soldier, noting with pleasure that 'instruction has been extended to the rank and file because the authorities recognise the immense value on active service of men who can use a pencil in making topographical sketches'. (26) The writer marvelled at the short period of instruction, proof that 'one can just as easily be taught to draw the formation of objects in nature as to trace the design of the letters of the alphabet' but is most impressed by the unsophisticated aesthetic appeal of the drawings:
    These sketches are, of course, not intended to be artistic in their handling, but at the same time there is a certain charm in their simplicity, and the conventional
    method does not detract from their interest. (27)
The accompanying line drawings show a verdant landscape of rolling pastures and tidy villages - in truth, not dissimilar from the images on offer in the magazine each month. Similar pastoral scenery was uniformly used for target practice. H.E.L. Mellersh noted with wry humour the popularity of this rural image.
    'Two fingers right, four o'clock from the haystack, at five hundred yards at the bushy-topped tree - fire!' I don't think that a tree that was not bushy-topped existed
    in the picture, which at least saved any strain on the School of Musketry's vocabulary or inventiveness.(28)
To the military mind, though, such aestheticism was anathema. Though Major Pearson's manual of 1906 offered a wider than normal range of tree types - pine, poplar, scots fir, the banana - to wean his students from the tyranny of the 'bushy topped' formula every drawing teacher warned the draughtsman to guard against 'artistic effect'. 'Indeed', argued the author of the 1912 manual, 'it is almost better that the artistic sense should be absent, and that instead of idealising a landscape it should be looked at with a cold matter-of-fact military eye'. (29) A soldier-sketcher had to concentrate on the potential of the countryside for military purposes and not be distracted by 'its beauties of colouring or the artistic effects of light and shade.' (30)

To certain military artists, though, the call of landscape art would always overwhelm purely tactical considerations. Perhaps the least exacting type of military sketch is the conventional landscape painting which has been ruled off with vertical pencil lines to mark out the degrees of artillery fire. Wilfred de Glehn chose this method. A professional artist, de Glehn served with the Royal Garrison Artillery on the Italian theatre of operations in 1917. From observation posts on the hills above the Isonzo Valley he painted a number of striking watercolour landscapes of the battlefield and the distant Austrian lines. (31) Exquisitely painted and beautifully luminous, they are, however, rather limited as images of tactical information - important contour lines are lost in the refined brushwork, keypoints in the enemy line are sacrificed to the principles of aerial perspective, vaporous watercolour technique obscures hard military fact. Only the vertical lines remind us that this is a dangerous killing zone.

Few of the innovations in battlefield drawing advocated by Newton seem to have survived the Great War. A sample panorama provided with the 1921 manual of Map Reading shows a wide tract of country either side of the Etaples-Verton railway in Northern France. Drawn on 3 July 1918 at 0900 hours by a Lieut. J Smith Royal Artillery from an observation post some 15 metres high, it is a classic panorama - an endless vista of land described in a neutral outline. But as a piece of graphic information it relies too much on annotations and arrows, a return to literal description at the expense of pictorial invention.

In artillery and infantry training manuals between the wars, freehand sketching took a poor second place to the technical demands of map work. Panoramic work was regarded as an adjunct to map drawing and was afforded modest coverage in training texts.

During the 1930s gentlemen cadets at Woolwich were still taught map-reading, map-making, field sketching and the drawing of military panoramas by officers of the Royal Engineers. Charles MacFetridge was one cadet who trained at Woolwich. He recalls how drawing was one of his weakest subjects - 'I was appalled at the number of marks allotted' (32) - and he remembered the particular regime of drawing days.
    We used to parade with bicycles on the Front Parade, march off in sub-sections ie two abreast, and cycle about two miles to the areas of Foots Bray and Sidcup.
    These areas had not been built over, as they are to-day. I recall that we carried strapped on our backs and to our sides a plane table, tripod, alidade, Army map
    case, army compass, large sheets of thick gridded paper on which we worked, a set of lead pencils varying from very hard to very soft, and rubbers. We wore
    uniforms with well-cut breeches and brown gaiters above strong thick brown boots known as 'sketchers'. These boots did not have to be highly polished like our
    other two pairs of boots and were suitable on soft, muddy ground. We must have presented a curious sight and I can recall difficulties when it rained. We spent
    three or four days under instruction in this way.(33)
MacFetridge recalls being taken further afield, in 3 ton trucks towards Wrotham in Kent, to be taught how to draw a military panorama. 'Having no artistic ability and having never been taught free hand drawing,' he adds, 'I was very bad at this.' (34) He dreaded the high number of marks allotted to this exercise all of which counted towards the Passing Out.

Seven years later, while commanding a battery of mountain artillery on the North West Frontier, MacFetridge had cause to be particularly thankful for a fellow gunner's drawing skills. During a skirmish in December 1940 the 5/8 Punjab Regiment came under severe sniper fire and suffered very heavy casualties. From his forward observation post MacFetridge established telephone communications with his guns. As the battle developed he was greatly relieved to be handed a freshly drawn panorama bought to his command position by a mounted Indian signaller. The panorama was drawn on the back of an Army signal form, a copy of which was held at the guns; significantly the drawing contained the gun data for at least three geographical features, including one peak at the unusual Angle of Sight of 18 degrees. As forward observation officer, 1000 yards in front of the guns, Macfetridge had access to over 20 different panoramas all drawn on cartridge paper. They had been made from both sides of the main road through the hostile territory and showed at least 15 key features, each clearly numbered with data for the guns. Mountain artillery on this theatre of war relied heavily on drawn panoramas. The drawings became treasured possessions, and were even considered as works of art, handed down from battery to battery and embellished by successive gunners.(35)

In Europe during the Second World War military drawing seems to have survived, as one might have anticipated, in the Survey Regiments attached to the Royal Artillery. The constitution of the Field Survey had not changed radically from the Great War; a typical Survey Regiment by the end of the war comprised three batteries: two Observation Batteries each covering a divisional front and one Survey Battery. Each Observation Battery contained two troops - one engaged in flash spotting, the other in sound ranging, each troop had four Observation Posts, which comprised a self- contained unit of 12 men.

John 'Ted' Baker and Ray Evans served in the 8th Survey Regiment and both saw action in the North African and Italian campaigns. In civilian life they worked respectively as a junior draughtsmen and trainee architect and were thus ideal recruits for survey work. They also proved to be adept at drawing military panoramas, though according to Ted Baker this was an unusual skill, rare in either the Survey Regiment or the Artillery. Neither soldier was taught the skills specific to making a useful military panorama. Evans received only minimal instruction in freehand drawing during his six month initial training at Larkhill, achieving little more than the briefest description of a landscape. In fact, perhaps the most effective, certainly the most widely available, drawing course taken by many soldiers was the famous correspondence course run by Percy V Bradshawe's Press Art School, operating from Forest Hill in South London. The course had also been popular in the Great War. 'I have over 1000 pupils in the Army', Bradshawe claimed in The Studio in May 1918, 'Drawing is a Military Utility, a happy hobby, or a lucrative career according to your ability and viewpoint.' (36) Twenty years on, Ray Evans was one soldier who had been assiduously following the postal course; another was the watercolourist Colin Newman who was serving as a cartographic draughtsman with the Royal Engineers. Like Evans, he too went on to become a successful professional artist after the war.

Both Ted Baker and Ray Evans worked in observation posts as flash spotters as part of counter-battery intelligence. In practical terms, they were the eye of the artillery, manning OPs in well concealed positions occasionally ahead of the infantry but, on the Italian front, usually high on the mountain sides which afforded excellent views into valleys and across to slopes controlled by the Germans. Ted Baker was first required to make an actual panorama some days after coming ashore on the Salerno beach-head.
    In order that our people at the rear, our counter-battery officers as they were called, knew what the terrain looked like somebody had to do a panorama. It had to be
    done by somebody who could draw. We had to creep up to the front at night, and draw what you could see, any salient points, and that went back to HQ and they
    could get an idea of what you could see from your OP and all that was done by hand, no cameras, no gadgets. It was all very rough and ready. (37)
Like his Great War counterparts Baker had to crawl to his drawing position on all fours, peeping occasionally above the grass, 'drawing by feel' rather than from prolonged observation. Both draughtsmen recalled how unpopular they were with their own infantrymen who feared enemy reprisal if the observer was himself spotted. Baker tried where possible to avoid using white paper, preferring grey or yellow paper which was less reflective under strong light or at night time.

Striving to find his own drawing style as a fledgling artist Ray Evans recalled his work with the 8th Survey Regiment.
    Most of my particular work in action was on Observation Posts, drawing panorama of the enemy front. Two identical drawings had to be made with a grid imposed
    showing compass bearings and this became excellent practice in drawing landscapes.(38)
The duplicate drawing was used at Regimental Headquarters to co-ordinate counter- battery fire. Evans also used his drawings as a means of calibrating the artillery, adjusting the range and fall of fire by observing air bursts. Indeed so detailed were his squared up drawings that he could direct fire by naming a specific square on the drawing. With his constant practice, his postal course and a genuine delight in sketching for its own sake Evans' drawings in the summers of 1943 and 1944 were in danger, perhaps, of becoming more artistic than was strictly necessary. One memorable ink drawing made from Monte Rosa recorded both the qualities of his observational work and his ability to record the moment of war. The drawing came about after Evans was approached by an army-naval liaison officer who asked him to use his observational skills to direct the monitor that would fire the 16-inch guns of a cruiser in Salerno Bay. With Vesuvius and Pompeii to the edge of his vision Evans bought devastating fire down on a German command post, watching with little emotion the destruction of an enemy battery and the hasty departure of the German commander. In the best of his work Evans combined the visual breadth of the panoramic tradition with the obsession for detail inherited from topographic art. His pencil and ink drawings made from 5000 feet up the exposed flanks of Monte Rosa and Monte Morroni are in the great tradition of military sketching - calm, detached, analytical studies made under precarious, often hazardous conditions.

Like Newton before him Evans was able to fuse the landscape artist's eye with the strict code of military drawing. This synthesis is best achieved in an image of the Gothic Line seen from Ciuitella D'Arno which shows the magnificent vista across the Arno Valley from Evans' Don Post. In his choice of pictorial language Evans adopts the conventions of cartography: roads are highlighted in red, crops in cross- hatching of yellow, trees coloured in green throughout. The result is a terrain seen simultaneously in plan and elevation; a landscape that teeters on the edge of becoming a map. Few of these drawings should have survived. As the fighting moved slowly north Evans and Baker hid their drawings in the foot of their kit bags and forgot about them.

In the decades after the war the army chose to forget about freehand drawing. A War Office manual of 1956, Map Reading, Air Photo Reading and Field Sketching, carried a short end chapter on Panorama Sketching. The manual reiterates the theme that artistic skill does not matter, while asserting that practice is essential. The most noticeable deviation from the innovative style of Newton's manual of 1915 is the ready adoption of conventional representation of features, for example:
    Roads - roads should be shown by a double continuous line, diminishing in width as it recedes ... Cuttings and Embankments These may be shown by the usual
    map convention, ticks diminishing in thickness from top to bottom, and with a firm line running along the top of the slope in the case if cuttings Moorland or Heath
    - These may also be shown by the usual map conventional sign, groups of short upright ticks. (39)
Accompanying illustrations are clear and concise, rendered in a neutral outline with an emphasis on tactical detail and an eye for military significance. They lack, however, the true painter's feel for terrain and the skill in rendering the essentials of landscape.

Laser-guided weapon systems and satellite-borne reconnaissance would suggest that there is no need for observational drawing in the late twentieth century. One of the resonating images of the Gulf War was the sight of so-called 'smart' bombs falling with mute precision on grey cityscapes. Yet the art of freehand observational drawing survives in certain branches of the army, notably the mobile light units of the Royal Artillery. In concealed positions far ahead of their guns, operating from a known grid, Forward Observation Officers, normally captains, observe the ground to the front of their battery, determine targets and order fire. An observation party can today call upon a dazzling array of technological gadgetry to reconnoitre a battlefield - powerful binoculars, night sights and thermal imaging devices - but the skill of field sketching is still a valued part of their work, requiring little more than a pencil, paper and a keen eye. Captain Tim Henry, Forward Observation Officer with 266 (GVA) battery, 7 Royal Horse Artillery, a recently converted parachute light gun battery, explains.
    Drawing is very important to the artillery, and to the observers particularly. We produce a panorama on a flat piece of paper, so that if we have to hand the position
    onto another party they have to be able to instantly pick up and identify features to the front. When we're drawing we look for key reference points - a prominent
    contour line, lone trees, buildings and so on.(40)
Captain Henry describes his attempts at freehand drawing as little more than 'fag packet gunnery', but in a highly mobile light gun outfit the ability to swiftly record the salient points of a hostile landscape is a highly valued skill. Indeed, the battery commander considers it such an important element in the training of his observation parties that he recruited me to teach the rudiments of freehand sketching. In the lecture room and in the field I guided soldiers through the principles of looking, measuring and analysing terrain; using a gridded drawing frame (built to specifications prescribed in a 1907 drawing manual) the gunners learn how to analyse and draw the landscape, just as generations of survey soldiers and artillery officers have done.

Some time later, lying face down in a camouflaged observation post on the barren slopes of Salisbury Plain we filmed the same soldiers directing the fire of the battery's 105 mm light guns onto a fictitious enemy some 500 metres ahead. Carefully avoiding artistic effect, one of the party used a felt-tipped pen to make a diagrammatic picture of the terrain. But, unlike his predecessors' work, few of these images will be committed to history. As the OP prepared to move position the soldier took a damp cloth and, in one movement, wiped the drawing clean off the sheet of acetate.

1 Rules and Orders 1792 cited in Lt..Col.H.D.Buchanan R.A., Records of the Royal Military Academy, 1741 - 1892, Cattermole, Woolwich, 1892, p 33.

2 For a full account of Sandby's influence see Martin Hardie, Watercolour Painting in Britain, Vol. 1, The Eighteenth Century, Batsford, London, 1966, p 216 - 222.

3 John Constable to John Dunthorne, 29 May 1802.

4 For a full account of the teaching of art in the nineteenth century see Gordon Sutton, Artist or Artisan ?, Permagon Press, London, 1967.

5 Major F Legge, Military Sketching and Map Reading, Gale and Polden, Aldershot, 1906.

6 Bertrand Stewart, Active Service Pocket Book, William Clowes, London, 1907.

7 In summer 1994 a replica of this drawing frame was built according to the specifications laid out in the 1907 drawing manual. It was used during the making of the HTV documentary Drawing Fire to help train artillery officers in the rudiments of freehand sketching. Although useful as a drawing device it proved a large, rather unwieldy piece of equipment, difficult to camouflage and even more difficult to stick in the ground.

8 Harry Bateman quoted in Malcolm Brown, Tommy Goes to War, JM Dent, 1978, p 185 - 187. Bateman's drawings are held in the Department of Art nos. 6319 - 6338.

9 David Jones, Dai Greatcoat, (ed.Rene Hague) Faber, London, 1980, p 241 - 243. An account of Jones' short service with 'The Survey' is told in "David Jones and The Survey", Peter Chasseaud, Stand To ! The Journal of the Western Front Association, no.39, Winter 1993, p 18 - 22.

10 Adrian Hill interviewed in The Graphic, 15 November 1930.

11 Francis D. Klingender, Art and the Industrial Revolution, 1947, Paladin edition, St Albans, 1972, p 67.

12 Paul Maze, A Frenchman in Khaki, Heinemann, London, 1934, p 130.

13 William Rothenstein, Men and Memories: Recollections of William Rothenstein 1900 - 1922, Faber and Faber, 1932, Vol.2, p 334.

14 Maze, op.cit., p 140.

15 IWM Department of Art no. 6070.

16 IWM Department of Art no. 6072.

17 Maze, op.cit., p 138.

18 Maze, op.cit., p 275.

19 William Roberts, Memories of the War to End all Wars: 4.5 Howitzer Gunner R.F.A. 1916 - 1918, Canada Press, London, 1974, p 27 - 28.

20 William G. Newton, Military Landscape Sketching and Target Indication, Hugh Rees, London, 1916.

21 Newton, ibid., p 6.

22 Newton, ibid., p 8.

23 Newton, ibid., p 9.

24 See for example the string and ruler contraptions suggested in the War Office Manual of Map Reading and Sketching, 1912, p 51 and in Landscape Sketching for Military Purposes by Capt. A.F.U. Green, Hugh Rees, London, 1908, fig. 12, p.25.

25 Newton, op.cit., p 27.

26 R.F.C., "Topographical Sketching in the Army ", The Studio, February 1916, p 44 - 45.

27 ibid., p 45.

28 H.E.L.Mellersh, Schoolboy into War, William Kimber, London, 1978, p 52.

29 War Office, Manual of Map Reading and Sketching, HMSO, 1912/1914, p 75.

30 ibid., p 75.

31 IWM Department of Art nos. 270 - 277.

32 Letter to author, 25 June 1991.

33 ibid.

34 ibid.

35 For a fuller description of this, MacFetridge's first day with 15 (Jhelum) Mountain Battery, see Tales of the Mountain Gunners, by CHT MacFetridge and JP Warren, William Blackwood, Edinburgh, 1973, p 121 - 126.

36 Advert in The Studio, May 1918.

37 John 'Ted' Baker, interview for 'Drawing Fire', HTV June 1994.

38 Ray Evans, Sketching with Ray Evans, William Collins, London, 1989, p 5.

39 War Office, Manual of Map Reading and Air Photo Reading and Field Sketching, Part III Field Sketching, HMSO, 1957, p 65 - 66.

40 Captain Tim Henry, interview for 'Drawing Fire', HTV June 1994.

The author wishes to thank John Baker and Ray Evans RI (formerly 8th Survey Regiment), Lt. Col. Charles H.T. MacFetridge RA (Retd), WO ii BSM Douglas Gough RA (Retd), Major J.D. Braisby RA (Retd), Major A.S.Hill RA (Retd), Lt.Col.P.N.Mason RE (Retd), Col.G.S.Hatch CBE RA (Retd), Brigadier K.A.Timbers RA (Retd) Historical Secretary The Royal Artillery Historical Trust.

The field research would not have been possible without the enthusiastic support of Brigadier Bruce Jackman OBE MC, Major Mark Walton MC 7 RHA, Capt. Tim Henry 7 266 (GVA) Battery 7 RHA and Bombardier Steve McNally 266 Battery.

Thanks are due also to Suzanne Bardgett and Janet Mihell, to David Cohen, military art dealer, Ken Atherton curator at the Hydrographic Office, Taunton, the late Bob Headley-Lewis, drawing master at Brittania Royal Naval College and to the support team at HTV Bristol: Abigail Davies, director, Stephen Matthews and Jeremy Payne, executive producers, and Mike Hastie, camera.