Alan Sorrell (1904-1974):
RAF Camp, signed and dated 1940,
Unmounted (ref: 3779)
pencil and gouache on paper, 39.2 × 52 cm (15 1/2 x 20 1/2 in.).
Provenance: The artist's son, Richard Sorrell
Exhibited: Sir John Soane's Museum, 25 October 2013 - 25 January 2014, Alan Sorrell: A Life Reconstructed.
Literature:Sacha Llewellyn & Richard Sorrell (ed), Alan Sorrell; the Life and Works of an English Neo-Romantic Artist, (Bristol: Sansom & Co.) 2013.
‘You must’, wrote the Tate Gallery director John Rothenstein to his professional acquaintance E.M.O’R. Dickey in May 1941, “forgive my bombarding you with names of artists for whom opportunities might be found for doing something in connexion with the nation’s war records’. Rothenstein then noted that he had recently received a letter from Alan Sorrell: ‘a most competent artist’ and one ‘not wanting in imagination’.
During the Second World War Sorrell served in the RAF from 1940, where he was able to make first-hand visual records of the daily life in the Air Force. 26 of these pictures were acquired by the War Artists' Advisory Committee.
In this drawing (in which faint echoes of The Appian Way can be seen) airmen come to wash their clothes at an outside boiler.