Textile Details

'Executed at dawn', Irene MacWilliam. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'Executed at dawn', Irene MacWilliam. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


Title of Textile:Executed at dawn
Maker: Irene MacWilliam
Country of Origin: Northern Ireland
Year Produced: 2009
Size (cm): 117cm x 73cm (landscape)
Materials: Cottons
Type of Textile: Patchwork Quilt

Irene made this wall hanging as a tribute to a group of 306 soldiers who, in 1916, during the battle of the Somme in the First World War, were shot at dawn for alleged cowardice. A campaign for justice was run for decades on behalf of the soldiers’ relatives, who argued that many soldiers were suffering from post traumatic stress disorder or shell shock. When initiating the process of granting a group pardon in 2006, the then Defense secretary, Des Brown explained: “… The circumstances [of the war] were terrible… it is better to acknowledge that injustices were clearly done … all these men were victims of war” (The Telegraph, 16 Aug 2006).

For Janet Booth, granddaughter of Private Harry Farr, shot at 23 years of age, Irene’s wall hanging captures the reality of war: “[It] represented not only the needless killing of men but also the horrors of subsequent wars.”

Owner: Conflict Textiles collection
Location: Roberta Bacic, Northern Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh

Textile exhibited at: The Human Cost of War, 8/11/2009 - 21/11/2009
The Human Cost of War - An Exhibition of Quilts and Arpilleras, 4/11/2010 - 15/01/2011
Transforming threads of resistance, 27/02/2012 - 9/03/2012
ÜberlebensKunst - Konfliktbearbeitung durch textile Bilder, 12/07/2012 - 26/08/2012
Stitching and Unstitching The Troubles-phase 1, 5/09/2012 - 29/09/2012
Stitching and Unstitching The Troubles-phase 2, 13/04/2013 - 29/06/2013
SMALL Actions BIG Movements, 1/07/2014 - 11/07/2014
Arpillera Journeys, 6/03/2015 - 12/06/2015

Textile Detail Image(s)