The Last Stand at Isandhula

The famous painting by Charles Fripp was exhibited in 1885 and is now in the National Army Museum. Fripp had worked on many drawings of the Zulu War for 'The Graphic' and this dramatic painting depicts a small band of the 24th gathered in a square around their Regimental Colour. In the aftermath of the battle there were several groups of bodies found which indicated that men had gathered themselves together to fight to the last. The detail below shows the artist's attention to detail on the mens' uniforms and weaponry. In the background rises Isandhlwana Kop which, significantly, is shaped like a Sphinx, the badge of the 24th.

The men in this painting are formed into a small square as can be seen by the fact that the men at the back are facing the other way to defend themselves against the horde of Zulus. The man lying down in front is handing his ammunition to those still able to shoot. The artist has placed an angelic-looking drummer-boy next to the sergeant to add even more pathos to the scene. He points at something, but it cannot be anything new to the men around him. Everywhere they look they are staring death in the face.

Regimental details

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by Stephen Luscombe