Alfred Kingsley Lawrence (1893 - 1975)

Canvassed Guns

SKU: 9898

Oil on canvas


Height – 40cm x Width – 74cm


The Artist’s Studio

A.K. Lawrence was active in both World Wars. In 1914, he had voluntarily joined the Northumberland Fusiliers’ 19th battalion (2nd Tyneside Pioneers), which was posted to France in 1916. He was mentioned in despatches in January 1917, most likely for his actions during the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme. In World War Two – too old to serve – he worked an Official War Artist.

Guns – and particularly the inside of the barrels – were often wrapped to protect them from corrosion by the weather and the sea spray. 15” or 16‚Äù guns of this type were typically fixtures on a battleship or a battlecruiser. The location is likely to be a Royal Navy dockyard – there’s a big crane in the background – while the hilly landscape across the water suggests Plymouth, Rosyth,  Invergordon or perhaps somewhere on the Clyde. 

We are grateful to Ian Jack for assistance.

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Alfred Kingsley Lawrence
Alfred Kingsley
1893 - 1975

Painter of pictures and murals and draughtsman, born in Lewes, Sussex. He studied at King Edward VII School of Art in Newcastle upon Tyne under Richard Hatton, at Royal College of Art with William Rothenstein and then in Italy as a Prix de Rome winner, 1923. Elected RA in 1938. Lawrence was a fine figure painter and a RA stalwart for many years, his work having a strong underlying draughtsmanship. Also showed RP of which he was a member and widely abroad. Among Lawrence’s notable murals are ones in Laing Art Gallery and Museum, Newcastle; Palace of Westminster; and Bank of England. Lived in London.

During WW1 Lawrence was in the Tyneside Pioneers, and according to Richard Dunning was in the front line 100 yards from Lochnagar when it was blown up. Given that the (unannounced) 27 ton explosion was heard and felt in Kew, it must have unnerved him considerably – fortunately the Pioneers were the only troops, out of 100,000, who didn’t go over the top on that day. Lawrences masterpiece, The Altruists, (first exhibited at British Empire Exhibition, Wembley, 1924, then British Pavilion, 1925 Paris and now lost) showing First World War soldiers and a selection of robed figures grouped on either side of a risen Christ, was his most ambitious serious attempt to sublimate his traumatic WW1 experiences.

With thanks to


Alfred Kingsley Lawrence (1893 - 1975)
Spitfire No. 303 (Kosckiuszko) Squadron RAF, Summer 1941


Alfred Kingsley Lawrence (1893 - 1975)
Muse, 1914


Alfred Kingsley Lawrence (1893 - 1975)
Sergt. Pilot J.C. McWilliams, 1942


Alfred Kingsley Lawrence (1893 - 1975)
Rear view Spitfire


Alfred Kingsley Lawrence (1893 - 1975)
The British School at Rome, circa 1923