Provenance: Laporte plc 1940s‚Äì2004; private collection since 2004.
Literature: Paul Liss, Laporte, A History in Art, Laporte plc, London, 2000, illus. p. 8.
the end of the 1930s,much of British industry was geared to the
production of war materials. Laporte, a chemical manufacturer based in
Luton, commissioned these paintings to record their contribution to the
war effort: the production of barium peroxide and hydrogen peroxide,
essential ingredients for the manufacture of explosive, incendiary and
Barium peroxide was produced using a
long tunnel kiln, a process first introduced during the FirstWorldWar
when supplies of naturally occurring barium peroxide were in short
supply. Barium peroxide is the main ingredient for the production of
hydrogen peroxide.The kiln used by Laporte, shown here, was finally
dismantled in the early 1950s.
The second painting depicts the
distillation of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidising
agent, which at high strengths causes instantaneous ignition (at 97%
concentrate it is used for rocket propulsion). At the end of the
SecondWorldWar the government handed over to Laporte as part of a
reparations programme theV-1 andV-2 production plants in Munich, where
weapons incorporated high-test hydrogen peroxide in their launch and
propulsion systems. Laporte sold the plants back to Germany in 2003.