Convalescent Nurses Making Camouflage Nets

Catalogue number
  • Art.IWM ART LD 1664
Art and Popular Design
Production date
Place made
Great Britain
Subject period
  • Support: canvas
  • medium: oil
  • Support: Height 458 mm, Width 610 mm
  • Frame: Depth 70 mm, Height 637 mm, Width 787 mm
Alternative names
  • object category: painting

© IWM (Art.IWM ART LD 1664)

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Object description

Image: A large room with nurses working on camouflage nets spread over a table and across floor. A sister supervises them with portraits hanging on the walls in the background.


Evelyn Dunbar was a landscape and mural painter who contacted the War Artists Advisory Committee soon after the outbreak of the Second World War. She was soon commissioned, painting the experiences of the Women’s Land Army, the Auxiliary Territorial Service and the nursing services. The theme of women adapting to unfamiliar tasks and surroundings amidst the circumstances of war recurs in these paintings; there is a sense of change on both an individual and societal level. This example depicts nurses of St Thomas’s Hospital, which had been evacuated to Pyrford in Surrey, working on camouflage netting. That nurses are working on such a task demonstrates the importance of the work and illustrates the unintentional duality of their roles. They are helping to conceal targets from harm, targets that they may later be nursing. The portraits on the wall and the two nurses in uniform emphasise the juxtaposition of the civilian setting and the military task.

History note

War Artists Advisory Committee Commission, 1941


Evelyn Dunbar

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