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February 1, 2011
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WWI Other Beauty: Learning to Fly by Rono22 WWI Other Beauty: Learning to Fly by Rono22
I do understand most of you would be disturbed by this particular portrait. This was a real man so was his tragedy. I believe this poor soul's story should be told- especially now when some of us don't know whether they'd like to have rhinoplasty or maybe liposuction.
Surgery was once a life-saving issue- not a whim.

Henry Ralph Lumley's wish was to became a pilot. It must had been his passion since the Royal Flying Corps was still quite dangerous part of the English army back in the day. Although he did not attended the officer training at the beginning of the Great War he was granted a place in the RFC. That happy chap in the background is Henry- wearing his RFC uniform, probably few months before his graduation from the Central Flying School.
The happiest day of his life appeared to be the beginning of the nightmare- 2nd Lieutenant Lumley "met with an accident" on his graduation day- his plane crashed on Salisbury Plain. His machine caught fire and completely burnt down.
This poor, impossible to recognise, human-like featured shadow of a man looking somewhere beyond capability of an average man's eye is Henry- few months after his graduation. Still wearing his RFC uniform, his only pride and probably also an indicator of who he was.
His face was burnt beyond recognition. He lost some of his fingers. His hands, arms and legs were burnt.
His appearance was ghastly- his disfigured features was now a web of scars and shiny red epithelium.
His left eye was burnt, right was practically blind. His lips were turned outward as an effect of ectropion, limited only by scars.
Henry was only 25 years old.

Sir Harold Gillies tried to gave this man a new chance, a new face. He planned to raise half of the skin from Henry's chest and put it on his face after the removal of the scar tissue. Henry was an impatient patient, he was completely depressed when he heard he should wait one more year until his wounds would heal to a certain point. Gillies tried to persuade him to wait- Henry wasn't able to do that.
The surgery started. It began well- but few hours after an unbelievable procedure it was clear Henry's body would not sustain the turmoil of the surgery.
The skin grafts were infected. Majority have sloughed.
For more than 15 months this man lived from one dose of morphine in the evening to one dose of stimuli in the morning.
But the pain of the surgery was too much to bare.
Henry died of a hearth failure on 11th March 1918, few days before his 26th birthday.

"One could have wished that this brave fellow
had had a happier death."
Harold Gillies, "Plastic surgery of the face"

...

While I was reading this particular man's story I was crying my eyes out. It never happened to me before. But as I started this portrait I somehow befriended with him- Henry has became just like an old forgotten friend. His appearance became somehow familiar and comforting somewhere in the middle of my work. But at the beginning I had to take regular breaks.

It's not a "beautiful" portrait of a "beautiful" man and I am well aware of that. I won't put any mature contents nor write any CAUTION: GRAPHIC CONTENT- people like Henry were walking, are walking and will be walking this Earth- disfigured, lost, at the edge of their sanity, rejected, being scary, hideous and unwanted in a "normal" society. And while it is normal and medically true we feel fear when we see disfigured body due to its uncanniness, I believe it is important to at leas try to fight this instinct. It's very hard; I believe there's not a single person perfectly comfortable with disfigurement but at least trying to understand it is a good way to go.

Now, I'd like you to take a look at Henry and just think for a moment- what makes us "us"?
I know most of you won't even read this story and would glare at this portrait thinking "That's really gross".
But maybe some of you will find something in it or understand something about yourself.
I can only wish we could learn to fly.

All information based on Project Facade, the Gillies Archives, digging in Google and in Harold Gillies, "Plastic surgery of the face"

Surreal and yet amazing documentary on Henry's case: www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMWt5t…

Short silent movie of the Red Cross workers helping "Men with broken faces": www.youtube.com/watch?v=8epVBK…

Part of "History of Surgery" (BBCFour) mentioning Henry: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6s5kJf…

Other portraits from the series:
W.O. Walter Yeo case pt1: rono22.deviantart.com/art/Mode…
W.O. Walter Yeo pt2:rono22.deviantart.com/art/I-Wi…
AB William Vicarage: rono22.deviantart.com/art/WWI-…
Add a Comment:
 
:iconrubyrouge649:
rubyrouge649 Featured By Owner May 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is really moving. I couldn't bring myself to feel disgust towards this man's appearance because his story is too sad. :cries:

I'm glad you didn't put a filter on this and made me really look at Henry. It's much more powerful that way.
Reply
:iconttaleapmonster:
TTALeapMonster Featured By Owner May 4, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
This is amazing. I'm crying right now! All I see is a good person, a human being.
Reply
:iconrono22:
Rono22 Featured By Owner May 17, 2013
Thank you for your comment!
Reply
:iconttaleapmonster:
TTALeapMonster Featured By Owner May 18, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Your welcome ^^ Once again, your art and passion is heartwarming!
Reply
:iconqbark:
qbark Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Student General Artist
Your portraits of Henry are all outstanding. I found out about him while researching WWI for a school project. his story brought me to tears as well. Thank you for paying tribute to the losses of a man not many have heard about
Reply
:iconfell-atio:
Fell-Atio Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Lean to fly, they said.
It'll be fun, they said.
Reply
:iconbadromance194:
BadRomance194 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2012
At first I was taken aback, but I was intrigued and kept reading on. The shock went away, and all I just felt was sadness. He really was quite handsome before the accident, don't you think? You did such an amazing job capturing this and I just have to say great job.
Reply
:iconharleyquinn2011:
HarleyQuinn2011 Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Absolutely fantastic and a point well made x
my boyfriend has NF and has had to have surgery to remove the tumours from his nerves, people stare at him bcoz of his scars and facial deformity and it makes me sick when they turn and stare or make rude comments about him.
i see him for who he really is;
a loving, funny, exseptionally kind human being with an amazing body ;) and a smile that could melt the heart!!!
Reply
:iconrono22:
Rono22 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2011
Thank you for your comment! It seems to me you are both exceptionally brave people who try to live peacefully respecting others- but it's hard to be humane when others turn around and sneer at you. I wish you two all the best, you are very special in the best sense on this word. Take care! :)
Reply
:iconharleyquinn2011:
HarleyQuinn2011 Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
R.I.P
to the soldiers who risked their lives fighting for their countries.
Reply
:iconluxnax:
luxnax Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2011
Moving and brilliantly crafted portrait
Reply
:icontripehound:
Tripehound Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thankyou for helping to remember these people, who have been so easily forgotten as time goes by.
We cannot imagine the terror they must have felt with no parachutes, knowing that this could happen to them at any time.
Thanks again, Rono22
Reply
:iconrono22:
Rono22 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2011
I'm glad I could do at least that much to help others remember about forgotten heroes. Thank you for the comment!
Reply
:icontripehound:
Tripehound Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
It's a shame that even today, people will refuse to look at another human who happens to have a facial disfigurement. People, it seems, just won't learn :-(

I don't know if you know the story of Simon Weston? He was horrifically burned in the Falklands War, and since has done lots of campaigning for those with facial disfigurement caused by burns.

[url][link][/url]
Reply
:iconrono22:
Rono22 Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2011
Sorry for not replying sooner- your comment got mislaid somewhere because, apparently, I'm not one of those most attentive ones when it comes to managing comments;/

It's something that really worries me- in world where everyone should be treated equally even the slightest disfigurement, especially facial, evokes some kind of primal fears, I don't even know how to name it. It is kind of sad.

Yes, I do- I guess the first time I heard about him was when I stumbled upon an article about him and Mr. James Partridge and his charity Changing Faces. It's absolutely spectacular that there are people like them who are not ashamed of their state and can openly say that there's something wrong with our pursuit for perfection.
Reply
:icontripehound:
Tripehound Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
No problem.

Changing faces is a brilliant cause, and should be publicised more.

Another person affected by this is Katie Piper, a model who had acid thrown in her face, and now campaigns for facial disfigurement causes.
[link]
There was a brilliant series of TV programmes she did, called "My Beautiful Friends", where she spent time with others living with disfigurement. It was really touching, and well worth a look.
Reply
:iconrono22:
Rono22 Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011
It really should be. It's kind of sad to think people with various sicknesses and disabilities are treated as lower-category citizens. We all fight for various equal rights for various groups but still, any deformity or even slightest skin disease and a person is left to be sneered at. We all seem to know this 'don't judge a book by its cover' etc. and it's a nice jolly talk but in the end the reality is bitter.

Thanks for the information! I didn't know about that and I'm surely going to learn more about it.
Reply
:icontripehound:
Tripehound Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Great to meet you on deviantArt. There are some on here, seemingly with very little brain, but you're one of the gems. Keep up the good work!
Reply
:iconcrooked-straightline:
crooked-straightline Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2011
Henry's story is a truly sad one. You've captured the essence of such a tragic fate. Bravo.
Reply
:iconcrooked-straightline:
crooked-straightline Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2011
Henry's story is a truly sad one. You've captured the essence of such a tragic fate. Bravo.
Reply
:iconmdude009:
mdude009 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2011
In my opinion you ain't a "freak" unless you want to be one, goths, emos, those people who have the weird tattoos and ridiculous piercings, those are freaks. This guy may be ugly as all fuck, but that ain't his fault, he didn't want it, who would? He ain't a freak, he's unfortunate.
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2011
[I honestly thought for a moment that this was drawn for "shock value", until I read your comments and realised they were based upon the life of a real man. I am sorry for my moment of doubt.]

History is filled with incredible stories - be they happy or sad -, but all too often the stories are buried in a book or in records, hidden from the public eye, simply because these are ordinary people... except when somebody like you stumbles upon their stories, and cares enough to share them. Thank you for sharing this poignant rendering of Henry Lumley, and his tragic story. <3
Reply
:iconunclekorkie:
UncleKorkie Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2011
Wow. This picture is worth a billion words.
Reply
:iconlyseebell:
Lyseebell Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2011  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you very much, both for this stunning (because it truly did stun me) portrait, and the change in perspective it afforded me. This is incredible.
Reply
:iconyelzamor:
YelZamor Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I read your artist's comments. :)
While it is difficult to look at the art, I understand the reasons and the story behind it.
Thought-provoking.
Reply
:iconrono22:
Rono22 Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011
Thank you very much for the comment and for your time to read the story! :)
Reply
:iconyelzamor:
YelZamor Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
No worries.
It was a tragic story, but I figure there were many cases like this in the wars.
Thank you for posting it.
Reply
:iconfrenemie:
Frenemie Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2011   General Artist
wow I really appreciate this portrait. You are completely right, people have become too fixated on their own self-image and self-worth that they forget about reality.

Poor man, this is an interesting and heavy story. It's good to see more portraits of something not so beautiful but meaningful, than pictures of the same kind of flawless but vacant faces that are everywhere in this site. Its also nice to know the story means something to you as the artist, so you have drawn it beautifully :heart:
Reply
:iconrono22:
Rono22 Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2011
Thank you very much for your comment! I really appreciate it!

It's just what you've said once- there's plenty of "stuff" in here and you really, really have to make a real research to find here anything artistic/meaningful/interesting/beautiful...
Reply
:iconfrenemie:
Frenemie Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2011   General Artist
no problem Rono :)

Yes it is definitely a problem, it can take hours to find some impressive art, I guess it leads back to the question 'Is art subjective?'
Reply
:iconrono22:
Rono22 Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011
Ahh, this website- or maybe- this people (some people, at least) here are unbelievable sometimes... I wish they would stop making Photobucket out of it :P
Reply
:iconfrenemie:
Frenemie Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2011   General Artist
yeah exactly, that's why I'm glad that some groups have cracked down on submitting certain photos/pictures that you could easily find by searching on google, and rough sketches that haven't had much effort put into them.
Reply
:iconquinzel-harleen:
quinzel-harleen Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I always aked myself who this man was and what might have happened to him. This is very touching. And although he looks disturbing, this drawing is perfect. Pure perfection, really. People with such a great talent are rare.
Reply
:iconrono22:
Rono22 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2011
Thank you for the comment and for your kind words!
Reply
:iconilite:
Ilite Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
A very moving illustration and description. I read about him on the Project Facade site, and was very moved by Henry's story. All in all, both your description and illustration make a very moving tribute to Henry Lumley.
I'm also the friend that Crystal-Gargoyle's referring to, by the way.
Reply
:iconrono22:
Rono22 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2011
Thank you very much for your comment!
I'm glad to meet you both :)
Reply
:iconcrystal-gargoyle:
Crystal-Gargoyle Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2011
My friend Holly and I did a lot of research about Henry Lumley. I even took pictures of his grave when I was in England.

This is such a lovely tribute.
Reply
:iconrono22:
Rono22 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2011
I'm glad I'm able to find others interested in this quite "unfashionable" nowadays topic of disfigurations, in the world concern only about beauty it's quite comforting for me I'm not the only one. I'm wondering if there is anything more you've found out about Henry than there's on the internet could you please let me know about it? I would be very grateful for any further piece of information about this poor soul.

Thank you!
Reply
:iconcrystal-gargoyle:
Crystal-Gargoyle Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2011
Thank you so much. As you can probably tell from my artwork, those with disfigurements hold a special place in my heart.

As for Henry Lumley, I have photographs of his grave. I recently stayed in London, and went to Hampstead Cemetery to visit his final resting place. Sadly, I did not have any flowers for him, but I had plenty of fond words. I'll post them if you'd like.
Reply
:iconrono22:
Rono22 Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2011
I'd be very pleased if you post them here or just send me a note :nod:
Reply
:iconcrystal-gargoyle:
Crystal-Gargoyle Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2011
Hi. Just letting you know I posted a pic of Henry Lumley's grave. Check it out.
Reply
:iconcorysmithart:
corysmithart Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
wow,very moving!!! Well draw and layed out...! Congrat's
Reply
:iconrono22:
Rono22 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2011
Thank you very much!
Reply
:iconcorysmithart:
corysmithart Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
ur very welcome.
Reply
:iconmesserhani:
messerhani Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2011
wow. the story left me speechless.

but let me say this - the picture is a fucking masterpiece.
Reply
:iconrono22:
Rono22 Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2011
Thanks!
Reply
:iconblatio:
Blatio Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2011
Absolutnie powala. Widziałem ten przypadek na "Facade", wgniata w fotel.
Narysowałaś to tak, że w pierwszej chwili myślałem, że wrzuciłaś zdjęcie po prostu.
Bardzo trudny temat. Najwyższe wyrazy uznania z mojej strony.
Reply
:iconrono22:
Rono22 Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2011
Bardzo dziękuję. Chyba moja najdojrzalsza praca. Albo się starzeję, albo obserwacje społeczne dają mi w kość- jedno z dwóch.
Zastanawiam się tyko, czemu akurat ten człowiek. Słyszałam i widziałam różne tego typu przypadki- a właśnie ten powalił mnie na kolana dosłownie i w przenośni. Co musiało być w tym człowieku takiego, co sprawiło, że trzy noce pod rząd w kółko czytałam jego kartę leczenia i gapiłam się na jego zdjęcia, płacząc...
Reply
:iconblatio:
Blatio Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2011
Ciężko to opisać. Po prostu uderzyło tam gdzie powinno.
Reply
:iconsylvanio:
Sylvanio Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
His story is most dreadful.
And all this talk about a "normal,well-functioning society" makes me angry. People are like some stubborn,blind machines in this way. (and yes,I think that humans are machines,just too sophisticated)

About a lesson from this - I have a little rule,that helped me many times. It says - "every time you feel bad/sad/angry/etc - think of people,who are not as lucky,as you are - at least you are alive and in full health".

I don't know what else to say...I'm overwhelmed with sadness. Thank you would be appropriate,I think. For bringing up and telling us the story of this poor good man.
Reply
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