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Women's Land Army Hostel There are lots of other amazing paintings at the IWM exhibition but it's Evelyn Dunbar who remains closest to our heart. Here is Women's Land Army Hostel 1943 © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum. It is painful reading in the Gill Clarke about the establishment's muted enthusiasm for paintings like these: it thought they did not express 'war consciousness', that they lacked 'war-substance', and Kenneth Clark wrote that 'the trouble about war pictures of agriculture is that they are rather hard to distinguish from peace pictures.' All absolute nonsense of course. The young women in this painting would not be there if it wasn't for the war, and by growing food they were doing vital war work; to argue that this isn't a 'war painting' because no one is fighting is absurd – and relevant to many of Persephone's novels, books like Good Evening Mrs Craven and A House in the Country being imbued with awareness of this theme. (This painting is on page 122 of Gill Clarke's book but I have not been able to discover where the original is.)

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