Ardizzone (Edward) - Shelter Scene.

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Ardizzone (Edward). Shelter Scene. Colour lithograph, overall 400 X 300mm, image 390 X 260mm, London, The National Gallery [1941].

Printed at the Baynard Press on machine glaze wartime paper. Edges chafed and rubbed, vertical crease, otherwise image very clean and good. Scarce.                                                            

Produced during Ardizzone’s time as official war artist. The image shows the Tilbury, also captured in Henry Moore’s work: ‘The most famous, or notorious, of all London’s underground shelters was found under the Tilbury railway arches at Stepney.  Part of a complex of cellars and vaults had been taken over by the borough council as a public shelter for three thousand people. The other part was the loading yard of a huge warehouse. The shelter was famous as a refuge in the raids of the First World War, and people flocked to it from a wide area. Communists encouraged the shelterers to overflow into the unofficial part of the arches, where massive steel girders maintained the illusion of safety. This became the largest, and perhaps the most unspeakable of all London’s shelters; as many as fourteen or sixteen thousand were estimated to use it on certain nights ... ‘Tilbury’ became the spearhead of the agitation for a general improvement in public shelters which journalists and social workers began to conduct as soon as the Blitz settled in. (Angus Calder ‘The People’s War’ pp.182-83)


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