Oil painting, ‘No Surrender: The Black Watch at Magersfontein’, 1900, by Frank Feller, acquired by The Black Watch Museum in 2000 with an NFA grant of £5,000.
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the National Fund for Acquisitions, many of this year’s ‘Object of the Month’ posts on the Black Watch Museum’s website will feature acquisitions made with the support of the Fund. May’s Object of the Month was No Surrender, The Battle of Magersfontein, The Black Watch – 11 December 1899, an oil painting by Frank Feller.
The Battle of Magersfontein took place on 11 December 1899, during the Boer War. It was the second of three major defeats suffered by the British Army within one week. The Black Watch were in the front during the dawn attack at Magersfontein and suffered heavy casualties, with 93 men killed and 209 wounded. The dead included one of the Regiment’s most illustrious officers, Major General Andrew Wauchope, who was in command of the whole Highland Brigade. Combined with the casualties in the other Highland Regiments the impact of these losses in Scotland was devastating.
These defeats, known collectively as ‘Black Week’ in Britain, shocked the public. Popular feeling at the time was strongly sympathetic to the fighting soldier. No Surrender reflects the public mood and celebrates the heroism of the common soldier.
Frank Feller (1848-1908) was a Swiss artist who settled in England. He is known for his regimental costume studies published as illustrations to Her Majesty’s Army in 1890/1.
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