War Correspondence

Turkish-Serbian War, 1876

When Archibald Forbes was sent by the Daily News to cover the Turkish-Serbian War of 1876, he was joined by Frederic Villiers from The Graphic, who went on to become one of the best-known British war artists in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Villiers caught up with Forbes, who was following the Serbian army, in Paraćin.

Archibald Forbes and others by Frederic Villiers, pencil 12 7/8 in. x 9 3/4 in. (327 mm x 248 mm),

His description of the Daily News’s Special – ‘sauntering quietly along, elbowing his way through the motley crowd, …  a tall, well-built man in knickers and jacket of homespun, with tam o’shanter bonnet cocked over his handsome, sunburned face, a short cherry-wood pipe below his tawny moustache’ (Pictures of Many Lands, 1902, p. 6) – is captured in his drawing, Archibald Forbes and others.

Extract from ‘The War in the East (From Our Special Correspondent with the Servian Army)’, Daily News, 28 August 1876, p. 6. Newspaper Image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (www.BritishNewspaperArchive.co.uk).





Forbes telegraphed a report for the Daily News from the fortress of Alexinatz graphically describing the Turkish bombardment of the town on 23 August.

The Graphic published a sketch by Villiers of retreating baggage-wagons and ambulance vans in Alexinatz on 9 September 1876 and reported the night being chronicled by the Daily News’s Special Correspondent as a ‘“night of horrors”, as, amid the roaring of the cannon and the crashing of shells, he, together with our artist, worked at the hospital most of the night, assisting the wounded, whose arrival from the front our artist has depicted’ (p. 246).

Engraving after Frederic Villiers, ‘The War in the East – The Wounded at the Hospital, Alexinatz, after one of the battles in the Morava Valley’, The Graphic, 9 September 1876, p. 244.