The Good Turn by George Hillyard Swinstead 1916 Scout painting and First Aid scenario photos

The Good Turn – An interesting Boy Scout painting from 1916 by Suffolk artist George Hillyard Swinstead,

It forms an interesting companion to The Wide Game painting of 1912 featured in our last blog post.

Art UK source : Scouts Heritage Service

As well as the excellent colour costume reference, this narrative or genre painting has interesting details in the background of a scout camp and runaway horse being tackled by Boy Scouts with their staffs.

Boy Scout staffs appear to have been inserted into greatcoat or jacket sleeves to improvise a stretcher.

The little girl on the improvised scout stretcher is the obvious casualty being cared for by Scouts as their Good Turn (of the title) but look behind her and you see an injured soldier in his hospital blues. The date of the painting? 1916.

Behind this wounded Tommy, recovering at home on leave with his arm in a sling, is a Scout escorting a hurrying Doctor wearing black top hat and black medical bag.

You can also see the Scouts helping with the rearing or runaway horse which has shed its wagonload.

Tucked away in the right hand corner over the hedge are glimpsed some scout bell tents and blue woodsmoke from the unseen campfire.

Lots of interesting details.

The first aid scenario is a common genre for photographs and postcards at the time.

Juxtaposing the injured Tommy from the Western Front with the injured girl on the improvised stretcher creates an interesting comparison between rural England and the Trenches.

The Girl Guides have similar first aid scenario images in their guidebooks.

Firstly, three photographs from the first Girl Scouts of America Handbook – How Girls can Help their Country (reprint of the 1913 edition)

Next we have the Girl Guide Handbook – How Girls can help to build up the Empire (1912). Here the photographs look staged, almost like oil paintings.

This pen and ink drawing seems to have been based on a photograph:

This narrative painting type approach to photograph illustrations can be found in these photographs in this early Girl Guide Handbook:

Even scouting cigarette cards featured the improvised stretcher situation:

Reprint of Boy Scout Series 1-5 of 225 Cigarette Card images (Trading Card International, 2014)

Not forgetting how to stop a runaway horse: advice given in Scouting for Boys

2008 story BBC

The Swinstead painting is an interesting mixture of these different situations.

Blog posted by Mark Man Of TIN, 6 June 2022

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