|Captain William Francis Longstaff (1879-1953)|
Piccadilly Circus, London.
Signed lower left.
16.4 x 16.4 cm. 6 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches.
Captain William Francis Longstaff (1879-1953):
Captain William Francis Longstaff was an Australian painter and war artist. Born in Ballarat, Victoria, he studied art privately before leaving to fight in the Boer War with the South African Light Horse Regiment. His cousin was the Australian portrait painter Sir John Longstaff. Upon returning
to Australia he continued to paint and teach art. He enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force at the Outbreak of the First World War and was injured in the Gallipoli campaign. He served in France and Egypt before being evacuated to England in 1917 where he trained in the art of camouflage. Appointed an Official War Artist in 1918, Longstaff produced numerous works during the final campaigns on the Western Front and afterwards returned to the battlefields of Belgium and France. These visits inspired many haunting images, among them Menin Gate at Midnight of 1927, arguably his most famous work which is housed in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. After the war Longstaff lived for a while in Sussex before settling in North London where he died in 1953. He worked in oils and watercolour and was also an accomplished etcher. He exhibited in London at the Royal Academy.