Reading of Cosmo's War to Be Performed on Remembrance Day

Play at St Michael & All Angels Church based on letters of Chiswick artist

James Clark (left) and The Great Sacrifice
James Clark (left) and The Great Sacrifice


New Charities To Be Supported By St Michael & All Angels

St Michael & All Angels Celebrates 20 years of its Parish Hall

Chiswick Artist Who Created WWI's 'Most Popular' Painting Remembered

BBC's Songs of Praise Coming from Chiswick

Sign up for our weekly Chiswick newsletter

Comment on this story on the

St Michael & All Angels Church is to mark this year’s Remembrance Day with a staged reading of Cosmo’s War, a play based on the World War 1 letters of the Cosmo Clark. They are the correspondence between him and his family who lived at 44 Rusthall Avenue in Bedford Park.

Cosmo Clark, who volunteered for active service with the Artists’ Rifles at the age of 17, won the Military Cross as did his brother Percy. He documented his experiences in drawings and letters from the front and later became a well-known artist. His work is held in a range of collections including the Government Art Collection and the Imperial War Museum.

Cosmo’s father was also a well-known artist. James Clark painted The Great Sacrifice, described as “the most popular painting of WW1”. It depicted a dead soldier in British uniform at the foot of a ghostly figure of Christ on the Cross: millions of copies were sold and it was used in stained glass windows and as a war memorial in public buildings.

You can read more at James & Cosmo Clark: WW1 artists in Bedford Park on the Chiswick Book Festival web site.

After the war, in 1922, James Clark painted The Salutation mural which is displayed in the north aisle of St Michael & All Angels Church. It depicts the Visitation of the Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. The Remembrance Day reading will mark the painting’s centenary.

Bernard Adams, the writer of Cosmo’s War and a former BBC producer, said, “The play is, literally, a documentary. Every word spoken, other than by the narrator, is taken from the marvellously preserved letters the family exchanged, detailing their deeply contrasted lives.”

Father Kevin Morris, the vicar of St Michael & All Angels, added “This is a remarkable story of World War 1, rooted in the artistic community of Bedford Park, and powerfully told through the family’s letters. It seemed appropriate to read the play on Remembrance Day in the centenary year of The Salutation, which James Clark painted for St Michael & All Angels.”

The staged reading, with music and images, will take place at 7.30pm on Friday 11 November in St Michael & All Angels Church. Refreshments will be on sale from 7pm and in the interval. There will also be a collection for the charity Combat Stress, which supports veterans. Tickets, costing £10 for adults and £5 for under-20s, are on sale here.

Cosmo Clark’s granddaughter Annie Davis, a graphic designer, will attend the reading with her sister Francesca and other family members. She designed the book of Cosmo’s War, which will be on sale in the church, and she and Bernard Adams spoke about it at the Waterstones Local Authors Party in the Chiswick Book Festival.

The play was originally performed in 2018 as a rehearsed reading at Christ Church, East Sheen. It was due to be performed at St Michael & All Angels in November 2020 but the church was closed because of COVID.


Like Reading Articles Like This? Help Us Produce More

This site remains committed to providing local community news and public interest journalism.

Articles such as the one above are integral to what we do. We aim to feature as much as possible on local societies, charities based in the area, fundraising efforts by residents, community-based initiatives and even helping people find missing pets.

We've always done that and won't be changing, in fact we'd like to do more.

However, the readership that these stories generates is often below that needed to cover the cost of producing them. Our financial resources are limited and the local media environment is intensely competitive so there is a constraint on what we can do.

We are therefore asking our readers to consider offering financial support to these efforts. Any money given will help support community and public interest news and the expansion of our coverage in this area.

A suggested monthly payment is £8 but we would be grateful for any amount for instance if you think this site offers the equivalent value of a subscription to a daily printed newspaper you may wish to consider £20 per month. If neither of these amounts is suitable for you then contact and we can set up an alternative. All payments are made through a secure web site.

One-off donations are also appreciated. Choose The Amount You Wish To Contribute.

If you do support us in this way we'd be interested to hear what kind of articles you would like to see more of on the site – send your suggestions to the editor.

For businesses we offer the chance to be a corporate sponsor of community content on the site. For £30 plus VAT per month you will be the designated sponsor of at least one article a month with your logo appearing if supplied. If there is a specific community group or initiative you'd like to support we can make sure your sponsorship is featured on related content for a one off payment of £50 plus VAT. All payments are made through a secure web site.


October 16, 2022

Bookmark and Share