Unseen Waterloo is a series of photographs by Sam Faulkner which explores how we remember the human face of conflict from a time before photography.
The Battle of Waterloo is one of the greatest in history. Napoleon and Wellington, two of the finest military leaders of all time, faced each other on 18 June 1815. For nine hours 200,000 men fought one of the most intense and bitter battles the world has seen. By sunset the world had changed.
Since 2009, Faulkner has travelled to the annual Waterloo re-enactment in Belgium to photograph the ‘soldiers’ who take part, dressed in the historically accurate uniforms, created with painstaking attention to detail. From his pop-up studio on the battlefield, Faulkner has made dramatic and painterly portraits which evoke the forgotten faces of Waterloo and re-imagine their moments of hope, glory and defeat.
The images hang against a backdrop of Hainsworth fabric, the rich scarlet woollen cloth worn by the British ‘redcoat’ soldiers at Waterloo and still made today at the original West Yorkshire mill.
‘Unseen Waterloo: The Conflict Revisited is my attempt to re-imagine the non-existent portraits from 1815. Waterloo is often cast as a battle between Great Men and certainly we’ve all seen the grand paintings of Napoleon and Wellington. However, we don’t have personal images of the men who actually fought and died that day. A hundred years later, after the First World War, the fallen soldiers’ names were chiselled in granite in every town in Europe. This work attempts to reclaim the Battle of Waterloo for those who fought and have been lost to history’, Sam Faulkner 2015.
Set of three Unseen Waterloo posters. Each poster measures approximately 69 x 48cm.
We are in the process of uploading the press about the Unseen Waterloo exhibition and book.
The Unseen Waterloo exhibition has been made possible by the generous support of Hainsworth. Hainsworth has been responsible for weaving the look of iconic England ever since the company was established in 1783. In 1815 Hainsworth provided the scarlet uniforms to the British forces at the Battle of Waterloo, helping to coin the enduring reference to the battle of the thin red line. Many of the images that continue to be used across the world to celebrate Great Britain are made unforgettable through the use of Hainsworth cloth including the iconic Striking Scarlet that is now worn by the Royal Guards and ceremonial uniforms worn by the Royal Family during state occasions.