Manchester Art Gallery

A 1944 Pastoral : Land Girls Pruning at East Malling

Object description

A view along a long avenue of trees in winter, with groups of women pruning them and carrying away the dead wood. Three women stand in the foreground to right, pruning the nearest trees, two standing on white ladders. Another woman in foreground to left, carries a ladder away from the viewer. More women can be seen all along the avenue engaged in the same activity. Hills are visible in the distance beneath a cloudy sky. The scene is surrounded by a brown painted frame containing different motifs, including gloved hands each holding a pair of secateurs, a bowl of apples, a plate of apples, a gloved hand holding a small saw, and a gloved hand holding a serrated knife. East Malling Research Station in Kent was established in 1913 as a government owned establishment (privatised in 2007). It is the leading fruit research centre in the UK.

Display label

A 1944 Pastoral: Land Girls Pruning at East Malling Evelyn Dunbar 1906-1960 Oil on canvas Recruits from the Women's Land Army are here shown pruning apple trees in a small village just outside Maidstone in Kent. The Land Army was set up to encourage women to work on farms to help the war effort. The surround of hands with secateurs suggests diagrams from a training manual. Dunbar painted murals in the 1930s. She was invited by the War Artists Advisory Committee to record the Land Army and other war work by women. Her subjects included sprout picking, making radar tubes and practising milking with artificial udders. Presented by H M Government War Artists Advisory Committee 1947.393