Study for an unidentified WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) member
Framed (ref: 9118)
Oil on canvas, 18 x 14 in (45.7 x 35.6 cm)
Provenance: Roger Folley; Alasdair Dunbar; Hammer Mill Oast Collection
Exhibited: Evelyn Dunbar - The Lost Works, Pallant House Gallery, October 2015 - February 2016, cat 86. WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October-23 November 2016, cat 43. Literature: Evelyn Dunbar - The Lost Works, eds Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2015, cat. 86, page 132-133; WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, eds Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 43, pages 82-83; Evelyn Dunbar: A Life in Painting, Christopher Campbell-Howes, October 2016, page 327. In July 1944 Dunbar was sent to the RAF station at South Cerney, Gloucestershire, to record the activities of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. It was not a notably happy or productive time. She was not given security clearance for the more sensitive - and interesting - areas of WAAF operations, so she was obliged to fall back on uncontentious areas like the canteen, the clothing store and - as in this case - individual portraiture. She was directed not to disclose the names of her subjects, so the identity of this WAAF wearing her service overall is unknown. Her portrait was left unfinished and was not submitted to the War Artists’ Advisory Committee.
We are grateful to Christopher Campbell-Howes for assistance.