Artist John Hassall: The British Empire, circa 1900

Artist John Hassall (1868-1948): The British Empire, circa 1900


John Hassall (1868-1948):
The British Empire, circa 1900
Framed (ref: 543)
Signed; watercolour, 23 5/8 x 19 5/8 in. (60 x 50 cm.)

See all works by John Hassall watercolour Last Romantics

This striking image probably dates to the period of the Boer War of 1899–1902, when the Orange Free State and the South African Republic were absorbed into the British Empire. Hassall’s approach to the subject reflects public opinion of the period, which was much at ease with the aggressive foreign policy of the ruling Conservative government, who were duly re- elected in 1900. Hassall was fascinated by the military, being the son of a naval officer and having attempted on two occasions to join the Royal
Military Academy in Sandhurst. The sketches of Japanese figures on the walls behind possibly refer to the expansionist ambition of Japan in this period. Hassall’s distinctive two-dimensional decorative style was much indebted to Japanese art.