I'm determined to write at least a quick one tonight. Today I heard that Roger Tolson had died. Roger was until recently the Head of Collections at IWM, and prior to that the heart of the Art Department. I didn't see him much over the last couple of years but worked with him quite a lot before that. He was a lovely guy, warm and insightful and patient, passionate about art and our collections more widely. On more that one occasion he went out to bat for me, notably in order to enable us to put our treasured oral history collection online.
I didn't know Roger well enough to be able to claim that I know what he loved best in our collections, but I'm just going to pick a couple of things from our First World War artworks with him in mind, a small sample of its variety.
Wire © IWM (Art.IWM ART 2705)
Indian Army Wounded In Hospital in the Dome, Brighton © IWM (Art.IWM ART 323)
Royal Irish Fusiliers: 'Just come from the Chemical Works, Roeux: 21st May 1917' © IWM (Art.IWM ART 3013)
A Daylight Raid On London, 7th July 1917: Seen from the roof of the Royal College of Science with the Brompton Oratory in the
foreground © IWM (Art.IWM ART 1070)
Monitor at Anchor in Bay, Imbros, 1.45pm, June 22nd 1915 © IWM (Art.IWM ART 4360)
Roger, I'm so sorry that we won't see you any more.