Dr Brydon's Arrrival

The famous painting of Dr Brydon, the sole survivor of the British army withdrawal from Kabul, was painted by Lady Elizabeth Butler and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1879, the year that the Second Afghan War started. The artist Elizabeth (nee Thompson) was born in 1846, four years after the catastrophe depicted here. The painting was titled 'The Remnants of an Army: Jellalabad, January 13th 1842' The fortress of Jellalabad is quite accurately shown in the background, with mounted officers coming out of the gate. The grey horse must be that of Major-General Robert Sale. The painting was purchased by the Fine Art Society in 1881 and sold in 1884 for 556 pounds. It was presented to the Tate Gallery in 1897.

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by Stephen Luscombe