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SENNYBRIDGE ARMY CAMP COOKHOUSE FEATURING PRISONER OF WAR PAINTINGS

Site Details


NPRN 23191

Map Reference SN92NW

Grid Reference SN920292

Unitary (Local) Authority Powys

Old County Brecknockshire

Community Maescar

Type of Site ARMY CAMP, WALL PAINTING

Broad Class Defence

Period Modern

Site Description The army camp (NPRN 310059) is situated on the northern edge of Sennybridge, north of the Usk and on the slopes of Yr Allt. The cookhouse building dates from c.1940 and is built of double-skin brick with external buttresses. It has four rectangular paintings on the end and side walls, of approximately 2.1m by 0.9m. They are painted in oils on the plaster (which was later varnished) and each was surrounded by a painted frame.

The first picture shows a view of Heidlberg Castle and town in southern Germany, with a multiple-arched stone bridge in the foreground leading to a town through a tall double-towered gate. The architectural details are so accurate that the scene may well have been painted from a photograph or postcard. The second is a mountain landscape with a deep lake. The third is an alpine scene of mountain farms beneath a glaciated cwm. The fourth is a alpine scene of snow-covered peaks and a fast-flowing stream with rapids. The paintings are believed to have been executed by prisoners of war, and both Italian and German prisoners worked there in 1945-6. There are a number of prisoner of war camp paintings in Britain, and the most notable are decorated chapels. These are outstanding examples of `secular' paintings, and the only ones actually in a building in use. The images were photographed by Iain Wright for the Royal Commission.
(Source: NMR Site files, AJ Parkinson, 5 February 1991).
Ian Archer, RCAHMW, 11th March 2005
Updated T. Driver, RCAHMW, 2014

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