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    Sale 7555

    Scottish Art The Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh

    23 October 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 47

    William Skeoch Cumming (1864-1929)

    Drummer James Roddick of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders, defending Lieutenant Menzies during hand-to-hand fighting in Kandahar, 1880

    Price Realised  

    William Skeoch Cumming (1864-1929)
    Drummer James Roddick of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders, defending Lieutenant Menzies during hand-to-hand fighting in Kandahar, 1880
    signed and dated ' W. Skeoch Cumming/1894' (lower left)
    pencil and watercolour, heightened with touches of bodycolour
    28 x 42½ in. (71.1 x 107.9 cm.)


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    This painting shows an incident from the final phase of the Second Afghan War of 1878-80, during which British forces were dispatched to Kabul and Kandahar. Drummer James Roddick, of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders, was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his courage in protecting his senior officer, Lieutenant Menzies. The two officers had broken down the door of a house in Kandahar from which they had been fired upon, and Lieutenant Menzies was shot in the groin. The two Highlanders were then attacked by a group of Afghans: 'The leader fired and knocked off Roddick's helmet but he called out to the wounded officer, "You're all right sir, as long as this blade lasts," and ran the Afghan through with his claymore.' An exhibition of paintings and documents relating to the Gordon Highlanders' role in the Second Afghan War, including a painting of the same subject with a very similar composition, was held at the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen in 2002. (M. Tillotson, 'Show of Highland bravery in an Afghan war', The Times, 2 April 2002)

    For another work by the artist depicting the Gordon Highlanders see lot 46.

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