image No Man's Land

The Battlefield Paintings of
Mary Riter Hamilton

Angela Davis and Sarah McKinnon

image Six months after the end of the First World War, Mary Riter Hamilton undertook a "special mission" for the War Amputations Club of British Columbia. Her task was to provide paintings of the battlefields of France and Belgium for publication in a veterans' magazine, The Gold Stripe. She subsequently stayed in Europe for seven years, producing over 300 battlefield paintings during the years 1919 to 1922. A number of the first series of pictures were exhibited in Vancouver and Victoria in 1920 and reproduced in The Gold Stripe in the same year. Exhibitions were also held in England and France in 1922 and 1923.

Mary Hamilton gave some of her sketches and paintings to war veterans in Vancouver, but she never offered any of them for sale. Instead, when she returned to Canada in 1926, she donated 227 works to the Public ( now National) Archives of Canada. In one of her letters to the Dominion Archivist, Dr. A. G. Doughty, she said, "It is a great honour and privilege to know that the work done amid the inexpressible desolation of No Man's Land has been considered worthy of a place among the Memorials of our Canadian men, the survivors, and the fallen."

Some of these paintings have been seen in exhibitions in Canadian galleries over the intervening years, but the majority remained in the care of the National Archives. The forty works seen in No Man's Land: The Battlefield Paintings of Mary Riter Hamilton have been chosen from that collection.

In cooperation with the War Amps of Canada and the National Archives of Canada, CM magazine is proud to bring you reproductions of selected works from No Man's Land: The Battlefield Paintings of Mary Riter Hamilton.

The following images are in jpeg format, file sizes are in brackets:

No Man's Land: The Battlefield Paintings of Mary Riter Hamilton
Exhibition Schedule:

University of Winnipeg Gallery 1C03; Winnipeg, Manitoba -- Nov. 5th to Dec. 8th, 1989
National Archives of Canada; Ottawa, Ontario -- March 24th to April 25th, 1993
Acadia University Art Gallery; Wolfville, Nova Scotia -- Nov. 2nd to Dec. 2nd, 1994
Moose Jaw Art Museum - Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan - Oct. 24th to Dec. 3rd, 1995
Thunder Bay Art Gallery - Thunder Bay, Ontario - Fall 1996 (dates to be announced)

For more information about the exhibition or the War Amps of Canada send email to

You also may wish to visit the web site of Canada's War Museum.

Copyright © 1995 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364

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