War and Peace at Keswick Museum

Keswick Museum launches its latest exhibition War and Peace, telling the story of how Keswick and the surrounding area returned to peace following the 1st World War through art created and the stories of our community. The Exhibition will run from the 12th January to 12th May 2019 and has been made possible through the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The exhibition will bring together works by David A Baxter of Borrowdale, an official war artist, showing examples of his work from the 1st World War in France to peace at home in Cumbria. This includes rarely seen works from his family’s private collection.

The exhibition will also explore the work of Keswick born sculptor, Frances Derwent Wood, who created masks for soldiers with facial disfigurements between 1917-1919. Following his war service, he went on to sculpt people such as Lawrence of Arabia, the Machine Gun Memorial in Hyde Park and the Cenotaph in Keswick, two minutes’ walk from the Museum.

This is a local story, but one that resonates with other communities nationally. The exhibition explores this topic through four zones with hands on activities:

First World War – Showing works created by David A Baxter in his role as an Official War Artist, as well as telling local stories of men including Captain Hayes MC, a horticulturist, whose family set up Hayes Garden Centre in Ambleside.

Transition – Exhibiting a rare example of a mask created by Frances Derwent Wood for an injured serviceman. This zone examines the challenges faced by returning service personnel, including, living with disability, unemployment and the outbreak of influenza.

Remembrance – Exploring how those left behind marked the lives of their loved ones who didn’t come home, through the development of memorials and commemorations in the local area.

Peace – Returning to the work of David A Baxter, this section shows his life following the war in Borrowdale, through his watercolours and butterfly collection, finishing with a work dated September 1939.

Becks Skinner, Keswick Museum Manager:

This has been a great exhibition to research and develop. Our volunteers have uncovered some amazing stories of the challenges faced by the people of this area. For many people, the guns falling silent in November 1918 is the end of the story. Through this exhibition, we will tell the forgotten story of what happened next and the path to peace.”   

Becks Skinner with one of David Baxter's Paintings Becks Skinner with one of David Baxter's Paintings
A soldier outside Keswick Museum A soldier outside Keswick Museum