Modern Soldier Walking, painting by Paul Bagan, 2012

artefact

Modern Soldier Walking

On display in the Officers’ Mess of 2nd Battalion the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, this oil on canvas is intended as a modern interpretation of Lady Butler’s 1919 portrait ‘Man of Kent’. The figure is depicted having returned to a Patrol Base during one of the Battalion’s Theatre Reserve tours of Helmand, Afghanistan 2008 to 2009.

Much like the original 1919 picture, the figure shown is contemplative, tired in appearance and wearing well worn attire. As such the artist shows that, but for a change in equipment, the soldier of today is the same as the soldier of the Buffs depicted walking in Flanders nearly a hundred years before.

Paul Bagan has painted a number of pieces for the Warrnat Officers' and Sergeants’ Mess and Officers’ Mess of the 2nd Battalion and is well regarded. Although there has been much debate over whether the figure depicted is intended to represent any one soldier, it is most likely that he is modelled on a friend of the artist.