Thursday, 8 December 2022

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. Donation from Irene MacWilliam
Location: Roberta Bacic, Northern Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh

Textile Detail Image(s)