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After the battle
Martin Everett

Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 785
Location: Brecon
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In the days before movies and television - This report appeared in Bristol Daily Post on Wednesday March 8, 1882


On Monday night and last night, Mr. Hamilton introduced an important change to his colossal “panorama of passing events” at the Colston Great Hall, substituting for scenes of the War In Afghanistan a series of admirably-painted and graphic Illustrations of the leading events of the War in Zululand and the Transvaal. The views comprise the battle of Isandula, the heroic defence of Rorke’s Drift, the death of the Prince of Imperial, the visit of the ex-Empress Eugene to the spot where her son so gallantly fell, the capture of Cetewayo by Major Martin (sic) and the Dragoon Guards, the battle of Majuba and the death of Sir George Colley, and some subsidiary illustrations. Regarded simply as works of art, the pictures are worthy of high commendation. The landscape, which, we are told, is strictly accurate in its detail, is painted in a masterly manner, and the artist, Mr William Dugan, has not only shown great skill as a figure painter – some Zulus being remarkable for the correctness of their anatomical development – but he has also displayed a mastery of composition, his groupings and arrangement of his objects being very graphic and real. The scenes which show Lieut. Melville (sic) and Lieut. Coghill crossing the Buffalo River with the colours of the 24th Regiment, that in which they are seen resolutely defending the regimental flag against an overwhelming of their savage enemies, and one describing the death of the young Napoleon are in particular strikingly effective, and evoke approving plaudits from the audience, who also appear to thoroughly admire the accompanying dioramic effects. The different events are described with more than ordinary eloquence by Mr. L Travers, and when the scenes showing the defence of Rorke’s Drift are exhibited a remarkable illustration is afforded. Mr. William Jones, who, with a single comrade, defended a door against the Zulus whilst the wounded were being rescued from the burning hospital, and who was one of the last four who left the building, appears in military uniform, wearing his medals and also the Victoria Cross placed on his breast by the Queen’s own hand, gives his own homely language an account of the occurrence, describing how the door had to be defended and resolutely held against the Zulus with bayonets, all ammunition having been exhausted. Mr. Jones was loudly cheered on presenting himself, and evoked a burst of enthusiasm when he announced himself as a Bristol man, having been born, he said, in Maudlin Street. The entertainment was, as on former evenings, assisted and relieved by some excellent singing and by several comic scenes and dances. There will be afternoon performance to-day, as well as, the usual one in the evening.

There are other contemporary newspaper reports giving details of the progress of Hamilton’s Panorama as it travelled around Britain. I am not sure who Mr L Travers is, perhaps someone can help. The Dugan painting of the defence of Rorke’s Drift , of course, is on display in the Regimental Museum in Brecon, along with William Jones’s medals. Was William Jones VC born in Bristol?

Martin Everett
Brecon, Powys
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After the battle
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