A Bust of Kitchener

Jenkins mentions a bust of Lord Kitchener seen as one climbed the staircase at the War Office. He sees “Kitchener’s cold angry eyes, haunting and haunted, surveying with deepest disapproval all who came that way.” [MP 55/51, 59/54]

Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener (1850-1916) was a hero of the Sudanese war in 1898. At the beginning of World War I, Prime Minister Asquith appointed him Secretary of War. One of his tasks was recruiting, and his poster with the caption “Join Your Country’s Army” became iconic. He was blunt in his assessments of the challenges of the war. A different aspect of his personality was his enthusiasm for collecting the finest Chinese porcelains. (Jenkins mentions this twice times in Dance; see for example, Lord Huntercombe’s remarks about fine china in CCR) [QU 62/61, CCR 165/169].  Lord Kitchenedied in 1916 when the cruiser that was taking him to a diplomatic meeting in Russia was sunk by a mine.

Kitchener World War I Recruitment Poster Alfred Leete 1914 photo in public domain from Wikemedia Commons

Kitchener World War I Recruitment Poster
Alfred Leete 1914
photo in public domain from Wikemedia Commons

Spurling identifies the sculptor of the Kitchener bust as Sir William Reid Dick, RA (1879-1961). [Invitation to the Dance, p. 327]

Lord Kitchener Sir William Reid Dick, 1925 St. Paul's, London photo © 2007 Armchair Travel Co. Ltd

Lord Kitchener
Sir William Reid Dick, 1925
St. Paul’s, London
photo © 2007 Armchair Travel Co. Ltd

Dick was commissioned  to do a number of pieces for a memorial chapel at St. Paul’s Cathedral dedicated to Kitchener in 1925. A life sized white marble effigy of Kitchener lies on the floor of the chapel. However, as far as we can tell, Dick did not do a bust of Kitchener for the War Office. (see appendix listing Reid Dick’s work in Wardleworth, D William Reid Dick, Sculptor, Farnham, Surrey  Ashgate Publishing, 2013).

Horatio Herbert Kitchener Richard Belt, 1917 Ministry of Defense Art Collection, United Kingdom

Horatio Herbert Kitchener
Richard Belt, 1917
Ministry of Defense Art Collection, United Kingdom

Lord Kitchener Richard Belt bronze bust, reduced 14.5 in high Listed for auction at The Saleroom.com (accessed 9/20/15)

Lord Kitchener
Richard Belt
bronze bust, reduced
14.5 in high
Listed for auction at The Saleroom.com (accessed 9/20/15)

We wonder whether a better candidate for this image is a bust of Kitchener displayed by Richard Claude Belt (1851-1920)  at the Royal Academy in 1917.  Bronze copies of this bust have been available at auction inscribed ‘No. 1 Reduction of Bust in War Office.’ (Lot 766 – Richard Claude Belt (1851-1920), a bronze bust of Lord Kitchener together with other memorabilia, The Saleroom.com, accessed 9/20/15). Belt’s bust of Kitchener shows those “cold angry eyes” that guard the staircase.

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