Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery (1887- 1976) 1940

Edwin Swan 

Portrait of Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery (1887- 1976), Edwin Swan
Oil on canvas
20th Century
20 x 26 inches 52 x 67 cm
Collection of the late G.K. Chesterton
Schooled at Sandhurst, Monty began his epic military career as part of the 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1908 while posted in India. Between 1914 and 1918 he served on the Western Front and suffered injuries at Ypres before returning to England to train at the Staff College in Camberley. Montgomery played an active, if not one of the most prominent military roles amongst Allied ground troops during the Second World War. After the evacuation of Dunkirk he became involved in the North African campaign and was appointed to command the Eighth Army at El Alamein. After the campaign's success, Montgomery was appointed a full general and fought with Eisenhower in Sicily and Italy in 1942. Although Monty often disagreed with the American commander the two worked together closely during the invasion at Normandy in 1944.

Known for his overbearing attitude and opposition to the American military strategy, relations between Monty and Eisenhower were not always harmonious. Upon the German surrender, Montgomery was made Commander in Chief of British Forces of Occupation and Field Marshal in 1944.

After the war Montgomery was presented with a number of honours. He was made a Viscount and KG in 1946 and became military chairman of the Western Union Commanders in Chief Committee in 1948. In 1958 he published his controversial Memoirs before touring the Soviet Union, China, India, Africa and Central America.

Edwin Swan was born in Ballyragget, Ireland in 1873. After studying art at the Academie Julian in Paris, he and his brother, the artist C.E. Swan settled in the artistically fashionable suburb of Camden Town in north London. Working from his residence during the early years of the twentieth century, he painted along side artists such as Walter Sickert, Lucien Pissaro and other members of the Camden Town Group. Swan's works were exhibited a number of times between 1896 and 1940 at the Royal Academy and the Royal Institute. G.K. Chesterton, the previous owner of this picture, was himself the subject of a portrait by Swan exhibited at the R.A. in 1940.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.