Full image caption
'History Painting' by John Bartlett, 1993-1994, showing a dramatic view of the 'Poll Tax Riot', which took place in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 31st March 1990 (oil on canvas). The scene depicted is the clash between a tall, green jacketed and booted rioter and a fully-armoured riot policeman. Between the two opposing sides lies a fallen rioter. Mounted riot policeman enter from the right, flailing their batons. To the left a group of rioters, dressed in jeans and summer clothes, respectively cower or fling stones. The site is the foot of Nelson's Column with the National Gallery in the background. The artist's choice of title 'History Painting' reflects his objective, non-partisan stance on the events and also his interest in the timeless qualities of such human battles. Research was equally conducted using police and underground sources. The work is influenced by artists such as Uccello and David as well as cinematic images. The Poll Tax riot broke out on 31/3/90 after a demonstration called by the All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Union which began in Kennington Park. There was a high concentration of police and some 250,000 demonstrators.
© John Bartlett