The Angel of Mons 1914 #1
collage painting on Stonehenge grey paper
30 x 22
WWI series / $950
The Angels of Mons, reputed to have appeared in the sky during the British retreat from Mons in August, 1914, and to have safeguarded the withdrawal, developed from a short story which mentioned no angels at all. On September 29, 1914, Arthur Machen published in the Evening News an openly fictional romantic story, ‘The Bowmen,’ in which the ghosts of the English bowman dead at Agincourt came to the assistance of their hard-pressed countrymen by discharging arrows which killed Germans without leaving visible wounds. Machen described these bowmen, who appeared between the two armies, as “a long line of shapes, with a shining about them. ‘ It was the shining that did it: within a week what he had written as palpable fiction was soon credited as fact. He was embarrassed and distressed at the misapprehension, but he was assured, especially by the clergy, that he was wrong: the angels – in some versions, angel bowmen – were real and had appeared in the sky near Mons. It became unpatriotic, almost treasonable, to doubt it.
– Paul Fussell