About this artwork

The Scott sisters were friends of the painters Eric Robertson and his wife Cecile Walton. Robertson was a Quaker and so would not take up arms.  In August 1916, he left for France to join the Friends Ambulance Unit. Though he put his own life in danger, he found the experience strangely exhilarating, speaking of the curious glamourof existence at the Front, finding beauty in the sight of star shells bursting in the evening sky at night.

Maidie Scott (on the left) was asked to act as a companion to the poet Wilfred Owen who, in 1917, was being treated for shell-shock at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh. She visited slums in the Grassmarket with Owen and later recalled the effect he had on the people there: ’Wilfred was adored – there is no other word for it.’ He had, she said, ‘an intense pity for suffering humanity a need to alleviate it, wherever possible, and an inability to shirk the sharing of it, even when it seemed useless. 

Owen was eventually sent back to his regiment, arriving in France on 31 August 1918. He was killed in action on 4 November, one week before the Armistice was declared.

Updated before 2020

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Eric Harald Macbeth Robertson

Eric Harald Macbeth Robertson