Ludovic-Rodolphe (RODO) Pissarro (1878-1952):
Framed (ref: 7416)
Signed and numbered 3e Etat no 4
Woodcut with hand colouring
7 x 3 3/4 in. (17.8 x 9.5 cm)
Provenance: David Cohen Fine Art; Elizabeth Harvey Lee; Private Collection
Of all the roles women took on during the First World War their work in munitions factories was the most vital. Without the bullets and shells they produced the British Army couldn't have carried on fighting. In spite of this the vast majority of images depicting women during WW1 show them in the more stereo typical role of nursing, though far few women were engaged in the medical services than in industry.
The female workers, nicknamed 'munitionettes', had limited protection against the toxic chemicals they had to use. Over 200 women lost their lives through accidents, explosions, or poisoning from handling chemical explosives.
'Munitionettes' were only employed during the war. The government negotiated with the trade unions to ensure that when the war ended the women would leave and their jobs would once again be filled by men.