Exhibited: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 79d. Literature: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, eds Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 79d, page 120; Evelyn Dunbar: A Life in Painting, Christopher Campbell-Howes, October 2016, pages 248-250. Completed in June 1940, Putting on Anti-Gas Protective Clothing, now in the Imperial War Museum, was the first of Dunbar’s war paintings. Immediately on her appointment the previous April as an official war artist she was posted to Bisham Abbey, Berkshire, where the Women’s Voluntary Service organised training courses, later taken over by Civil Defence, to relieve civilian war casualties, particularly by the expected enemy gas attacks. (In the event, they never occurred.) In July 1940 the National Gallery included this painting in an exhibition of wartime art. It was also included in the Britain at War exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York the following year.
We are grateful to Christopher Campbell-Howes for assistance.