Street, Ruabon

Catalogue number
  • Art.IWM ART 16836
Art and Popular Design
Production date
Place made
Great Britain
Subject period
  • Support: paper
  • medium: Watercolour
  • Support: Height 253 mm, Width 348 mm
Alternative names
  • object category: drawing

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Object description

image: A village street scene, in the late evening. In the background a group of people stand talking. In the foreground a woman walks along the street towards the viewer.


Drafted into the Royal Engineers in1942, Scott was eventually transferred to the RE Ordnance Section in Ruabon, North Wales, where artists, designers and printers had been brought together to work on the production of maps and the interpretation of aerial photographs. In the nineteen months that he spent in Ruabon, Scott painted over seventy watercolours of the surrounding landscape, sometimes with figures or abandoned farm vehicles and machinery. But he felt lonely and isolated in Wales, separated from his wife and child and unable to pursue his career. He said that during the years he was in the Army, `there was a tremendous amount of discussion about the English Romantic landscape painters, and this was a tradition I did not belong to. It was not my kind of painting at all’. Yet he could not entirely escape the influence of neo-Romanticism, as can be seen in his use of black and grey washes, lonely existential figures and the brooding atmosphere that suffuses his work in the 1940s.


This eerily silent scene of khaki-coated soldiers being driven though a deserted and darkened one-street town is from this period. The sharply diminishing perspective conveys the sense of an interminable journey from which there is no escape and which has no meaning. Scott himself recalled: ` We were always driving somewhere, we were never told where and it was always night’.


This subdued street scene has a feel of general unease and isolation. Scott made this when he was stationed at Ruabon, a village in North Wales. Placed in the mapmaking section of the Royal Engineers, and in the company of other artists and designers, he produced over 70 watercolours during this time. However he felt lonely and remote there and missed his wife and child. Scott is better known for his later abstract still life work. Early works like Street, Ruabon were little known until the Imperial War Museum put on an exhibition of his wartime work in 1981.


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All Rights Reserved except for Fair Dealing exceptions otherwise permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.