Mystery artist's captivating Great War artwork

Standing to attention in a motley variety of uniforms, the German prisoners await the arrival of some smartly dressed British officers.

It is a scene from Shropshire's past captured in a watercolour painting now in the possession of Dr Guy Neild, who lives in Suffolk.

The artwork is set at Park Hall, which housed a camp for German prisoners-of-war during the Great War, and for many months afterwards, but Guy knows nothing about it or the artist and would love to find out more.

Written by the artist on the undated painting is "P.W. Camp, Parkhall, Oswestry" and on the other side are what may be the mystery artist's initials.

Guy, who is from the village of Aldringham, has shared it with us and Kirsten Vollmer after seeing a Shropshire Star story online which featured a photograph of German prisoners-of-war at Park Hall Camp which had been emailed to us by Kirsten.

Kirsten is from Bonn in Germany and her grandfather Max Kuntze was one of the prisoners in her cherished photograph, second from the right.

Of his painting, Guy says: "I don't remember where I bought it. In the early 1980s I bought quite a few pictures. I lived in the Deptford and Greenwich area and we had several antique shops nearby, all long gone.

"I probably would have paid £5 to £10 in those days, in today's money less than £100."

The reason it caught his eye, he says, is that he is very fond of the German artist Otto Dix and his peers from the Neue Sachlichkeit period.

"It seemed to be in that style. My first thought was that it should be in a museum."

Before buying it Guy had no particular knowledge or interest in the camp, although he says: "I did go to school at Shrewsbury, and my sisters went to school near Oswestry. I have worked in Germany and do speak German."

As for what he knows about the painter or circumstances of the painting, he says: "Absolutely nothing, except what you can read on the picture. There is a monogram in the bottom right so someone may be able to identify the artist. The last two letters look like pp so it might be a surname starting P or a name like Papp.

"When I first looked up Park Hall, probably about 10 years ago on Google, I found virtually nothing, so I was astonished to learn so much this time."

The painting is on a wall at his home.

"It would be interesting to have the opinion of a German art specialist. It seems to be a watercolour and painted on cardboard-like paper."

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