In December 2013, Anna Dillon accompanied the La Boisselle Project Study Group on a reconnaissance of the First World War battlefields, where she was given access to the inside of some of the British front line tunnels.

While there, the Oxford landscape artist was also offered the opportunity to fly in a helicopter over the countryside around Ovillers-la-Boisselle. Observing the scars on the ploughed fields below her, she decided to find out more about how these landscapes had regenerated.

Her resulting and comparative perspective on how these landscapes of The First World War battlefields of Ypres and the Somme have changed over the past 100 years have culminated with her show at Cornerstone Arts Centre in Didcot .

Timed to mark the First World War Centenary, the show is the culmination of four years’ research by Anna which includes commissioning military historians to work on some of the individual soldier’s stories that feature in the show.

She has visited France and Belgium many times over the past few years and her paintings are accompanied with a series of striking black and white photos.

During her research she uncovered many connections between her home, its landscapes and the battlefields.

“The sheer scale of destruction on the land of France and Belgium during the First World War has been almost impossible to comprehend,” Anna explains.

“Communities were obliterated, centuries of history were blown apart and habitat and environment were destroyed. It is very moving to visit these battlefields a century on and see how well the areas have regenerated but the scars still remain and it’s important that we never forget.”

The writer and poet John Masefield lived half a mile from her village in Aston Tirrold and wrote about the strong similarities between the local chalk downs and the chalk lands of the Somme region.

The Battlelines Redrawn exhibition brings together three narratives of the history of the First Word War: the artistic history, the landscape history and the artists own personal family history.

This exhibition starts by displaying the poem ‘August 1914’ which was written by the poet and writer John Masefield. He wrote this poignant war poem on Lollingdon Hill which is in the parish of Cholsey in South Oxfordshire (formally Berkshire). Masefield lived in the farm house here with his wife and children from 1914 to 1917 and fell in love with the expansive and rolling chalk countryside. Anna studied his poem in depth and the first few paintings of her show are inspired by his writing.

The largest wall in the gallery is dedicated to the Somme conflict of 1916 which includes a vivid painting of the Lochnagar Crater. This crater was blown on July 1 1916 along with another crater (also painted) on Hawthorn Ridge. Each painting has an information panel next to it which explains the significance of each landscape.

Anna has also connected with the works of Paul Nash and William Orpen in this show. Many of the commissioned war artists were interested in the human dimension of conflict; Nash and Orpen were also concerned with the desecration of the landscape.

Battlefields Redrawn

Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot

Until November 25