Stanley Berkeley (British, 1855-1909) The Last Stand at Abu Klea

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Lot 236*
Stanley Berkeley
(British, 1855-1909)
The Last Stand at Abu Klea

Sold for £ 3,750 (US$ 4,925) inc. premium
Stanley Berkeley (British, 1855-1909)
The Last Stand at Abu Klea
oil on canvas
52 x 69.5cm (20 1/2 x 27 3/8in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Anon. sale Sotheby's, London, February 1977.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner.

    Literature
    Peter Harrington, British Artists and War: The Face of Battle in Paintings and Prints, 1700-1914, Barnsley, 1993, no.317 illustrated as pl.17.
    Ian Knight, Go to Your God Like a Soldier: The British Soldier Fighting for Empire, 1837-1902, Barnsley, 1996, illustrated on the cover.

    The Battle of Abu Klea took place on the 17th January 1885 as a British column, tasked with the relief of the besieged General Gordon in Khartoum, were attacked by a large Mahdist force. After enduring sniper fire throughout the preceding night, the British force of approximately 1,400 advanced in a square formation with their camels in the vacant centre.

    The ensuing battle is now known as one of the bloodiest fought by the British Army at the time, despite lasting little longer than fifteen minutes. Depicted here is likely to be the moment when the Madhist dervishes broke into the British square, only to have their advance blocked by the trapped camels.

    Despite managing to repel the enemy forces who, it is thought, took over 1000 casualties, the relief column were too late to rescue the beleaguered General Gordon, who fell as the Madhists took Khartoum.
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