The Shrouds of the Somme team are delighted to announce that Jim Carter is Patron of the project.
Jim Carter is perhaps best known to today‘s audiences for his portrayal of Mr Carson, the butler, in ITV’s hit drama Downton Abbey, for which he has received four nominations as Best Supporting Actor at the Emmy Awards. Jim has also worked extensively in film and television – A Private Function, Brassed Off, Shakespeare in Love, The Singing Detective and Cranford being amongst his personal favourites.
Shrouds of the Somme is an extraordinary arts remembrance installation, depicting 72,396 hand-stitched shrouded figures laid out in perfect rows. Each figure represents a soldier who died at the Battle of the Somme but whose body was never recovered from the battlefield.
Last summer I was part of a very moving recital in Exeter Cathedral with Show of Hands to commemorate the centenary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Running in tandem with the recital was one of the most extraordinary artworks I have ever witnessed. It was called ‘Shrouds of the Somme’. It was an acutely moving depiction of loss and remembrance.
Artist Rob Heard had created 19,240 individually shrouded figures, each about 12 inches tall, and laid them out in symmetrical lines that seemed to stretch forever in an Exeter park. Alongside this memorial was a tent with lists of names of those 19,240 figures – all those who had lost their lived on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
When The Last Post was played over those figures, over those lists , over those lost lives, it was one of the most moving depictions of loss and the folly of war that one could have imagined.
And now Rob Heard is working 15 hours a day, 7 days a week to complete this act of remembrance. To mark the centenary of Armistice Day in 2018, he is hand stitching 72,396 individually shrouded figures which will be laid out in perfect rows to represent the British and South African soldiers killed at the Battle of the Somme who have no known grave.
Each figure represents a named soldier. Each figure is unique.
The scale of Rob’s task is unimaginable but then so is the scale of the loss of life 100 years ago.
This artwork is stunning because it represents grief in such a graphic manner and it gives those lost lives a name and a place in our memories forever.
I support this project and would urge others to support it too in the hope that devastation like this will never happen again.
We will remember them.
Artist Rob heard is crowdfunding to pay for the materials to create the exhibition, to help support him go to www.shroudsofthesomme.com
PHOTO AT TOP: By Mark Thurkettle.