THE ROYAL ARTILLERY, THE ARCHERS

Further evidence for the pyramid interpretation of the Royal Engineers panel can be found in the Royal Artillery panel. Carrick portrayed the crew of an 8 inch Howitzer battery in action in the heat of battle. The action is captured in the strain of muscle and sinew. Yet this does not fully explain the tremendous sense of pent-up tension which you feel when standing in front of this panel. Once again the answer lies in Carrickā€™s ingenious composition. In the foreground, running from left to right along the base of the panel, five gunners drag ammunition up. In the background, running diagonally up to the top left hand corner, is a second line formed by four gunners loading the gun, and by the gun barrel itself. These two straining lines are dragged across the scene to meet at the right hand edge; like the tightly drawn string of a bow. At the point at which the lines meet you find loaded, instead of an arrow, a charge held by a gunner who looks out in the direction of fire, perhaps another of Carrick's puns as the scene is literally 'charged' with energy. Just as Carrick was portraying the Engineers as modern day pyramid builders It appears he was portraying the Artillerymen as the modern archers of the battlefield and through the use of composition captures all the latent energy of the moment before release.

Such a portrayal of artillerymen in the tradition of ancient archers also draws on the history of the site itself. What could be more fitting for a gothic chapel, built within the walls of a medieval castle?
Carrick had served with the Royal Garrison Artillery in Flanders and the Ypres Salient. When discussing this panel, Anne Scott told me 'That was the war he knew'.

artillery clay

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