Gas Mask Drill (oval with sketch to top right), 1939
Framed (ref: 2460)
Variously signed, inscribed with title and dated
Pen and wash over pencil
17 x 11 in. (43 × 23 cm)
Tags: Charles Mahoney children war World War II Paintings by British Artists
Provenance: The Artist’s estate.
Exhibited: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 30.
Literature: Paul Liss, Charles Mahoney, London 1999, p. 54. WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 30, page 68.
Gas masks were issued to all children as a precaution against attack by gas bombs, and gas-mask drill (‘remove mask from box, put mask on face, check mask fits correctly, breathe normally’) was a daily feature of school life in the SecondWorldWar.
The masks came in cardboard boxes with a strap for carrying them on the shoulder. Children were instructed to keep their masks with them at all times.
In 1940, the Royal College of Art was evacuated to Ambleside in the Lake District, with Mahoney and Percy Horton among the male staff.
A related study is in the collection of the V&A museum.