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  • Chelsea, London
  • 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

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The Battle of Isandlwana, 22 January 1879

2 min read

The bigger picture

This painting commemorates the last stand of the 24th Regiment of Foot at Isandlwana. The battle was the opening engagement of a war fought against the Zulu Kingdom in what is now KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa.

Despite having the upper hand in terms of weaponry, the British found themselves vastly outnumbered and suffered one of their most humiliating defeats.


The artist, Charles Fripp, exhibited this painting at the Royal Academy in 1885. However, it failed to make an impact. For the British public of the time, the battle had been an embarrassment and was already fading from memory.

Instead, it was the successful Defence of Rorke's Drift - a battle that took place immediately after the events at Isandlwana - that captured people's imaginations and went on to be popularised in art and film.

See it on display

Come and see this iconic painting in our Global Role gallery, alongside other items that demonstrate the Army's involvement both in establishing and defending Britain's empire.

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