This is a fascinating example of early twentieth century British war art, a watercolour landscape as seen from the rear cockpit of an RAF biplane.
The painting conveys something of the strategic overview of territory afforded by military aviation, at a key juncture in the formation of the modern state of Iraq and the emergence of aerial bombing. The painting also perhaps expresses something of the joy of flight, as recorded for example by the British colonial official Gertrude Bell in her diaries from the time.
This painting and others like it are also interesting when we come to look at the work of artists who have accompanied or been part of UK armed forces in Iraq – the landscape in watercolour remains a favoured technique.
Image used under IWM Non-Commercial License (http://www.iwm.org.uk/corporate/privacy-copyright/licence) © IWM (Art.IWM ART 4637)