Somme battlefields remembered in stunning photographic exhibition

17 May 2016 | Hannah Clark

The worst day in the history of the British Army will be commemorated by a photographic exhibition in Guildhall Yard.

Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: Somme 100 Exhibition, Michael St Maur Sheil

Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: Somme 100  (1 June – 3 July) is an outdoor exhibition featuring Michael St Maur Sheil’s evocative photographs of the present-day battlefields, alongside archive pictures of the trenches during World War One. It follows a hugely successful exhibition in St. James’s Park in 2014, which was seen by an estimated 4.7 million visitors.

The free exhibition illustrates nature as an agent of reconciliation, healing the wounds of war and turning places of horror and death into landscapes of great peace and beauty. Accompanied by a remarkable events programme and satellite exhibition series across the City, the exhibition is a timely salute to the centenary anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

The events programme includes a series of connected lectures from the likes of Professor Gary Sheffield – one of Britain’s foremost WWI historians – who will describe the immediate impact of the Battle of the Somme on WWI and the way in which we regard it today, and Clive Harris – full-time battlefield guide and published author – who will discuss London’s role in the Great War. Also included in the programme is an exhibition featuring the London Irish Rifles ‘Loos’ Football – a reminder of an extraordinary moment in the history of warfare – at Guildhall Art Gallery, on loan from the London Irish Rifles Association Museum, Camberwell.

Dotted across the Square Mile will be satellite exhibition panels featuring Sheil’s images of Verdun; a site host to the longest single battle of WWI, raging for eight months, from 21 February to 18 December 1916. The casualties from Verdun and the impact the battle had on the French Army was a primary reason for the British launching an offensive attack on the Germans, which essentially led to the Battle of the Somme in July 1916.

Commemorate a combat that affected our collective history and resulted in 1.2M casualties.

View the full events programme and find out about the satellite exhibition series.

The exhibition has been kindly sponsored by the Royal British Legion.