Frank Potter (1885-1958):
Self Portrait as an Auxilary Firemen, circa 1941
Framed (ref: 2604)
Oil on canvas
62 1/4 x 40 1/8 in. (158 x 102 cm)
Provenance: Andrew Leslie, Leva Gallery, 1974; private collection.
Literature: Grant M.Waters, Dictionary of British Artists Working 1900-1950, Eastbourne Fine Art Publications, Eastbourne, 1976, vol. 2, illus. no. 70.
WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 38, page 76.
This painting shows the artist as an Auxiliary Fireman, his plastron-fronted tunic buttoning on the right side and his fireman's hatchet in a holder attached to his belt.
Potter, who had served in WW1, (enlisting in 1916 at the age of 29), would have been too old to fight in WW2, but served on the home front as an Auxillary Fireman assisting in the clean-up of bomb damage to the capital.
A British Pathe film clip from WW2 shows that many of the Auxilary Firemen who protected St. Pauls had day-jobs in the City and afterwork would change into their firemen's uniforms in the Crypt of St Paul's Cathedral before working through the night.
Tethered barrage balloons - 1,100 of which were moored at 100-yard intervals around St Paul's - defended the city against dive-bombers, forcing them to fly higher and into the range of concentrated anti-aircraft fire. A British Pathe film clip from WW2 shows that many of the Auxiliary Firemen who protected St. Pauls had day-jobs in the City and after work would change into their fireman's uniforms in the Crypt of St Paul's Cathedral before working through the night.
Potter was one of the founder members of the Decorative Art Group in the summer of 1916 with Ethelbert White, C.R.W.Nevinson, and Carlo Norway.
As a print maker Potter produced views of London landmarks and his dry points bear comparison to those of C.R.W. Nevinson
We are grateful to Michael Campbell, Stuart Southall, Grant Waters and Andrew Cormack for assistance.