Trench forms centrepiece of ‘behind-the-scenes’ WW1 exhibition

Visitors to Guildhall Art Gallery’s new exhibition will walk through an ‘artistic response’ to a First World War trench to view work by young people from the capital’s schools and artist and set designer Jane Churchill.

Echoes Across the Century (31 March – 16 July) will promote understanding about those who experienced World War One from ‘behind the scenes’ by telling stories that provide glimpses of life through the trades, including aircraft design, saddlery, communication, and food.

Working with 17 of the City’s Livery Companies, students aged between seven and 17 from 14 schools were led by Jane Churchill to create art works for the immersive installation at the City of London Corporation’s art gallery. The exhibition, which benefited from £99,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), forms part of continuing events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One.

A sky full of planes and cases of paper moths act as a memorial to those who died at the Front, while apothecaries’ cabinets, tobacco tins and cooks’ matchboxes contain miniature worlds, and collaborative collages depict scenes from the trenches. Jane Churchill's own installation, 'Degrees of Separation', exploring love, loss, memory and connection, provides the inspiring starting point for the whole vision of the exhibition, as well as for the artwork she helped the students create.

Katty Pearce, City of London Corporation curator at Guildhall Art Gallery, said:

“’Echoes Across the Century’ will be a poignant and moving experience for visitors to the art gallery, essentially, a tribute to those killed or seriously injured in World War One, but also throwing light on the work of tradespeople in a wide range of, often, hidden or unusual jobs during those years.”

Alison Truphet, Project Manager at Livery Schools Link, said:

"I am thrilled with the artwork that the students have created and their enthusiasm for this project, which immerses people in ‘behind the scenes’ stories of the First World War. Jane Churchill has brought magic to this ambitious exhibition in her own art work, as well as the work that she has produced with over 200 young people.”

Jane Churchill, artist and set designer, said:

“It has been a privilege to work with such talented students and meet amazing people during this project, which brings together over 600 artworks to create an imaginary world – part set design, part exhibition, and part walk-through experience. The installation commemorates hundreds of lives through the traces of their stories, which are still reverberating across time and are now contained in objects and artworks waiting to be discovered.”

The exhibition has been conceived and delivered by Jane Churchill and Alison Truphet for Livery Schools Link, in partnership with Guildhall Art Gallery and funded by the HLF. The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages Guildhall Art Gallery, invests £80m every year in heritage and cultural activities of all kinds. It is the UK’s largest funder of culture after the government, the BBC, and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).


Notes for Editors:

Echoes Across the Century runs from 31 March to 16 July at Guildhall Art Gallery, EC2. Press day is 30 March, 10am to 12 noon.

Katty Pearce, curator at Guildhall Art Gallery, and artist and set designer Jane Churchill, are available for media interviews. High resolution images of selected art works are available on request. Please contact Andrew Buckingham (see below).

For further information, please contact:

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

Tel: 020 7332 1452 / Mobile: 07795 333060 / Email


Guildhall Art Gallery was established in 1886 as 'a Collection of Art Treasures worthy of the capital city'. See works dating from 1670 to the present, including seventeenth century portraits, Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces and a fascinating range of paintings documenting London's dramatic history. General admission to Guildhall Art Gallery is FREE; however, an entrance fee may be charged for some exhibitions, with concessionary rates for senior citizens, registered unemployed and registered disabled.

Monday - Saturday, 10am - 5pmSunday, 12pm - 4pm

Call 020 7332 3700 / textphone 020 7332 3803 for a daily recorded message or for more information. Email and follow @GuildhallArt


The City of London Corporation is a uniquely diverse organisation. It supports and promotes the City as the world leader in international finance and business services and provides local services and policing for those working in, living in and visiting the Square Mile. It also provides valued services to London and the nation. These include the Barbican Centre and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama; the Guildhall Library and Art Gallery and London Metropolitan Archives; a range of education provision (including three City Academies); five Thames bridges (including Tower Bridge and the Millennium Bridge); the Central Criminal Court at Old Bailey; over 10,000 acres of open spaces (including Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest), and three wholesale food markets. It is also London’s Port Health Authority and runs the Animal Reception Centre at Heathrow. It works in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on the regeneration of surrounding areas and the City Bridge Trust, which it oversees, donates more than £15m to charity annually.

About the HLF

Thanks to National Lottery players, HLF invests money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. Follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.