Monday, August 18, 2014

Artifact of the week - Studio Portrait of Cpl. George Clarke

79.1029.2, gift of Mrs. G. Umbach
This photograph, donated by Mrs. G. Umbach, is one of several that will be featured on the blog in the upcoming months to commemorate the First World War. Also known as The Great War, this massive conflict erupted on July 28th, 1914. Britain, and by default, Canada, declared war on August 4th, 1914.
Peace River resident Corporal George Clarke enlisted in Edmonton mere days after marrying Annie Southcott, who had come over from England to be his wife. Originally assigned to the 202nd Infantry Battalion, Clarke was transferred to the 31st Battalion and saw action in France and Belgium. His unit was part of the Occupation Forces in Germany towards the end of the war. He returned to Peace River and was integral to the construction of several key buildings in town. A copy of this photograph, accompanied by George Clarke’s military tunic (jacket) are currently on display in the Peace River Gallery at the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre.
Although this portrait of Cpl. Clarke appears to depict him posing in a military camp, it was actually taken in a studio. The backdrop, complete with tents and a flag, is painted on canvas and Cpl. Clarke is standing on a drop-cloth.

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