Mrs Appelbee [Frances Macdonald]

Catalogue number
  • ART/WA2/03/085
Art and Popular Design
Part of
  • whole: 50pp

Physical description


Content description

Macdonald was proposed for nursing services subjects in June 1940, for the fee of 25 guineas for an unspecified number of pictures. By July, she was working at Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital, and planned to go up to another hospital in Manchester. She also requested a permit to sketch an ambulance ship near her home (14). When Macdonald submitted her first picture, of a shelter at the Military Hospital, the Committee did not appreciate the apprehensive expressions of the people, although Macdonald defended them as accurate. She offered to substitute another picture when completed, and the picture later accepted as a substitute was IWM:ART LD 791, accepted in January 1941 (54, 35). Macdonald also went to Oxford to work at the evacuated QAM hospital, in January 1941, and in (50) she discusses ideas for pictures. Meanwhile Dickey obtained permission for Macdonald to go to Cowley aircraft dump at Oxford, as a result of which she produced IWM:ART LD 717, purchased for 25 guineas in December 1940. In March 1941, a further Cowley picture was declined, but another was purchased in May, for 15 guineas, LD 1078 (57). In September, the Committee offered 25 guineas for a picture of St Paul's Cathedral, LD 1347, but Macdonald asked for the price to be raised and was given 35 guineas. The papers include correspondence and a presscutting from the Wallasey News regarding Macdonald's success, as she was originally from that town (66). In her letter at (69)-(70), Macdonald describes the dump at Cowley, and mentions the bombing of the QAM hospital at Millbank, which she experienced. She subsequently submitted a revised version of the air raid picture that the Committee had not liked, and it was accepted (IWM:ART LD 1598) for 20 guineas in November 1941. Two further drawings, IWM:ART LD 1735 and 1736, were purchased in January 1942, for 12 guineas (76). Other pictures were declined, but LD 2984 was purchased in May 194 for 40 guineas, but was stopped by the censor because it contained structures built since 1939 (88ff). In November 1943, Macdonald wrote to Kenneth Clark asking for further commissions, and consequently was asked to paint London Dock basin for 30 guineas (94ff) for 30 guineas. A further sketch of this subject (IWM:ART LD 3925) was purchased in October 1944 for 15 guineas. In April 1944, a further picture, of a Bailey Bridge, was commissioned for 25 guineas (111) and also a portrait of the inventor of the bridge, Donald Bailey (118), the latter purchased in October 1944 for 15 guineas (124). LD 4410 was purchased in August 1944 for 10 guineas. Further commissions were offered, in December that year, possibly IWM:ART LD 5167, for 25 guineas, and subsequently commissions resulting in IWM:ART LD 5509-10 (139-40ff) and IWM:ART LD 5579. The final commission was for a picture of a repair shop for flying boats, in November 1945, for 25 guineas. The file ends with a leaflet for the IWM exhibition, 'Some Women Artists', 11 October 1958 to 2 February 1959. In her letters, Macdonald regularly refers to her husband, Leonard Appelbee, and his activities.

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