Online Collection

The Online Collection showcases a selection of our objects for you to discover and explore. This resource will grow as the Museum's Collection is catalogued and computerised, and as new acquisitions are added.

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Sketches of First World War soldiers, including some preliminary studies for the oil painting, 'Our "Little Contemptibles"', by William Barns Wollen (1857-1936), 1917 (c)

Charcoal and wash sketches from a sketchbook by William Barns Wollen (1857-1936), 1917 (c).

The sketches include British soldiers from the early stages of World War One (1914-1918). The main figures on this page, including the figure falling wounded, feature in the finished oil painting which depicts a stoic firing line of men from the British Expeditionary Force delaying the advancing German forces on the Western Front in 1914.

'Our "Little Contemptibles"', the title of the painting, relates to a mistranslated reference to Britain's 'insignificant little Army' by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. The oil painting is part of the National Army Museum Collection (NAM. 1998-04-49).

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1965-05-48-3-21


National Army Museum, Out of Copyright


National Army Museum, Study collection

Object URL