The Munition Girls

Made:
1918 in England
artist:
Stanhope Alexander Forbes

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Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Painting, The Munition Girls, by Alexander Stanhope Forbes, 1918. Oil on canvas; 40x 50" or 103x127cm, in decorative
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Painting, The Munition Girls, by Alexander Stanhope Forbes, 1918. From a colour transparency in the Science Museum
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Painting, [The Munition Girls] / by Stanhope Alexander Forbes, 1918. Oil on canvas; 40x 50" or 103x127cm, in decorative gilt frame 132x152x8.5cm. Signed and dated bottom left. Female operatives making 4.5-inch shells at the Kilnhurst Steel Works of John Baker and Co. Ltd., Rotherham; steel billets are re-heated in a separate furnace and, still glowing, moved by hand to a steam hydraulic press for forging. Mr. George Baker commissioned this scene "to produce a memento for our women workers, and each of them received a framed copy of it".

Commissioned by John Baker & Co, this famous oil painting, entitled ‘The Munition Girls’, shows women working at Kilnhurst Steelworks during the First World War. The artist was Alexander Stanhope Forbes (1857-1947).

Like many other steelworks during the war, John Baker & Co’s Kilnhurst site was converted to make shells and ammunition. As men volunteered or were conscripted to fight in the British Army, women became the main work force in industry and farming.

Munitions workers could often be picked out in a crowd because of the distinctive yellow colouring of their hair and skin caused by the sulphur used in production. They were nicknamed ‘canaries’.

On display

Science Museum: Making the Modern World Gallery

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Details

Category:
Art
Materials:
gilt, oil paint on canvas
Measurements:
frame: 1320 mm x 1520 mm x 85 mm,
image: 1030 mm x 1270 mm
Identifier:
1983-1433
type:
oil painting
taxonomy:
  • people
  • people
  • visual and verbal communication
  • oil painting - visual work
status:
Permanent collection

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