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War Pictures by British Artists: Women

Book Review Inside a Book

Wrens at Miniature Rifle Club Practice, Robert Austin

Stumbling upon a bookish find is wonderful, especially when it is already part of your collection! While I was sorting through my books, I found this little treasure in the bin of books that do not fit on the shelves. I think it must have come from one of those used book sales where the prices are so low that the best tactic is to pile up everything that looks like it could be interesting, buy all of them before anyone else does, and sort through them later. There was (is?) one held at the university, which is particularly good for its eclectic pickings.

Girls Working on Wings, Leslie Cole

This novella-sized book is from a series of wartime artwork by British artists. The publication date? 1943. This volume consists of drawings and paintings of women at work in the war effort and features an introduction by Dame Laura Knight who both honors the women keeping the nation going during one of its darkest periods and looks to a future of greater possibilities for women: "If she can do what she has done in war, what may she not do in peace?" 

Knight's other work includes her controversial Self Portrait with Nude (1914), which challenges the rule that banned herself and fellow female art students from life classes, and The Nuremberg Trial (1946), in which the courtroom fades into a wartime scene.



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