12 x 11 in. (30.5 x 28 cm)
Exhibited: Evelyn Dunbar - The Lost Works, Pallant House Gallery, October 2015 - February 2016, cat 19. Literature: Evelyn Dunbar - The Lost Works, eds Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2015, cat. 126, page 177; Evelyn Dunbar: A Life in Painting, Christopher Campbell-Howes, October 2016, pages 253-255.This greetings card, produced in the mid-war years by the National Gallery as part of a fund-raising scheme, features Dunbar’s 1940 painting A Knitting Party. Her original contract with the War Artists’ Advisory Committee was for six paintings showing civilian women’s organisations involved in home front activities. The contract was never completed, being later abandoned in favour of Women’s Land Army and nursing subjects. A Knitting Party shows a group of some 15 women assembled in the somewhat expanded sitting room of The Cedars, the Dunbar family house in Strood, knitting blankets, comforters and socks for men on active service. Dunbar has cleverly included - and echoed in the domestic décor - the three service colours, navy blue, khaki and RAF blue, in what is being knitted. She has also, maybe a little mischievously, featured her mother Florence, seen sitting by the window and surreptitiously looking at her watch, wondering when this invasion of women will cease. Unlike the others Florence is hatless, because she’s in her own home.
We are grateful to Christopher Campbell-Howes for assistance.