Remembrance: the Royal College of Art and the First World War

ROLL OF HONOUR – THE FALLEN

In 2014 a small commemorative exhibition was held at the College, inspired by a memorial plaque to former students who had died during the First World War. Percy Metcalfe, the sculptor responsible for the memorial, had himself interrupted his studies at the College to join the army. He later returned to the College following the end of the war and his discharge from the army.

Research has continued into those named, as well as ‘others’ alluded to in the memorial text.  This web exhibition of the “Fallen” is the result.

As with the memorial itself, no distinction has been made between those who may have already left the College before the outbreak of war and those who left during their studies. It is also inclusive, acknowledging deaths caused in some way by the war, which were not always on the battlefield.

Please use the menu bar above to select a year of the conflict and find the names of those who died.

We hope at each centennial year’s end, up to 2018, to add biographical and service details for each of those we have identified.


The memorial: Percy Metcalfe and context

2014 Commemorative exhibition

Helen Kearney’s commemorative essay, RCA 2014

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Note: Research and Sources

This web exhibition is the result of a collaboration between Special Collections and  RCA Library staff – Corinne Noble (research and design), Lucy Neville (research and text), Cathy Johns (editing).

Most of the illustrations here come from student files, with additional material from various archives, societies and descendants. There is, however, a considerable and obvious gap due to legislation surrounding the reproduction of historical unpublished and “orphan” works. Severe copyright constraints and the requirements of “due diligence” for licensing purposes mean that, just like many other institutions, we have not felt able to share here any of the particularly relevant and poignant letters we hold, from the students themselves or their families.  While it seems obvious that the sense of an individual’s style through their handwriting –  or even the choice of paper and pen used – is of intrinsic interest, especially in relation to artists and designers, as things stand current legislation will continue to affect this particular material until at least 2039.

In the light of this, we would especially like to thank all those who have helped us provide these brief accounts of promising lives so brutally cut short.

We also welcome comments, suggestions, additions and evidenced corrections to any errors we have inadvertently made.


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