Dead Church by John Armstrong

Southampton holds a significant cluster of British Surrealist paintings and drawings but this is the first work by Armstrong to enter the collection.


Tempera on board
34.3 x 43.8 cm
Art Fund grant:
£3,700 ( Total: £11,000)
Acquired in:
Mayor Gallery

Armstrong was an important, influential and highly original artist associated with the British Surrealists. He was a member of Paul Nash’s progressive Unit One in 1933 which promoted both abstract constructivism and surrealism. This painting was created during his time as an official war artist. His wartime landscapes of bombed buildings exemplified by Dead Church became increasingly transformed into places of ruin and desecration, signifying the ultimate sacrifice of war. The broken, brick-like strokes suggest that the fabric of the hollow church is paper-thin, about to be blown away like leaves in the wind.


Artist's estate; Mayor Gallery.

Venue details

Southampton City Art Gallery Civic Centre, Commercial Road, SOUTHAMPTON Hampshire SO14 7LP 023 8083 3007

Entry details

Free to all
Offers with National Art Pass

Mon – Fri, 10am – 3pm
Sat, 10am – 5pm.
Closed Sundays