wATERLOO uNCOVERED portrait project

Waterloo Uncovered is a registered UK charity that combines a world-class archaeology project on the battlefield of Waterloo with a support program for veterans and the military community. Working in partnership with some of Europe’s top universities, and through the unique perspective of a team comprised of archaeologists, veterans, and serving soldiers, Waterloo Uncovered aims to understand war and its impact on people — and to educate the public about it.

Since the beginning 2018 artist, Helen Chester, has been working in conjunction with Waterloo Uncovered to produce a series of portraits showing some of the serving personnel and veterans the charity has helped over the last few years.

These portraits not only seek to show an accurate depiction of the sitter but also include vignettes which tell the story of the sitter, while making reference to the Battle of Waterloo itself.

Working closely with each person, Helen has gone to great lengths to understand each subject’s personal history and to find out the impact the work of Waterloo Uncovered has had on them and their lives moving forward. The process doesn’t end at the initial interview or sitting, the sitter then has to approve of all the images included in their portrait, if they are unhappy with an illustration or it is an incorrect interpretation, it will be removed or changed until it is completed.


At the beginning of November 2018 Helen showed the series at The Royal Hospital Chelsea at a Waterloo Uncovered fundraising event.


When finished, this series will include fifteen portraits due to the fantastic response from Waterloo Uncovered volunteers, and will culminate in a series of exhibitions.

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Andrew has always had an interest in history, especially military history, so when the opportunity arose to join the 2017 Waterloo Uncovered excavation, he leapt at the chance. As well as the archaeology, Andrew found the whole process to be therapeutic, describing how he was surrounded by people that could empathise with his P.T.S.D, not questioning him if he needed to be on his own. When he was at the dig site he could focus on the simple act of digging, blocking everything else out.