Sold

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

The British Railways Carry On, 1941

SKU: 10557
Signed and dated ‘Charles Cundall 1941’ oil on canvas  
Presentation:
framed

Size:
Height – 80.5cm x Width – 122cm

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
Christie’s, Glasgow, 15 May 1997, lot 586 With Bob Simm, London, where acquired by the present owner Private Collection, U.K.

Exhibited: London, Royal Academy, Summer Exhibition, 1941, cat.no.216

The station silhouetted in the background has the arched roof and corner turrets of Cannon Street (the roof was blown off in the war) but that doesn’t fit with anything else in the picture, including what looks like an LNER express locomotive in the freight yard.   According to the artist’s daughter this scene would have been based on fact and his memory of such scenes: Cundall really respected reality, and didn’t try and overload it with personal interpretation.

The present work illustrates both the destruction and human spirit that prevailed in London (and the U.K.) during The Blitz, 1940-1941. Painted in 1941, the viewer is presented with a train yard and hive of industry as men scurry and stoop to mend damaged tracks and get the engines going. All around them light and fires rage from the Luftwaffe air raid explosions and searchlight beams highlight a sombre sky filled with deterrent barrage balloons. They work under the darkness of night, focussing on the task in hand with the ‘carry on’ of the title recalling the motivational poster produced just a couple of years prior during WWII that advised the public to ‘Keep Calm and Carry on’. Reinforcing the message, in late May and early June 1941, 14,000,000 copies of a leaflet entitled ‘Beating the Invader’ were distributed with a message from Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The leaflet begins “If invasion comes…” and exhorts the populace to “Stand Firm” and “Carry On”. Exhibited at The Royal Academy in the year of its execution, The British Railway’s Carry On may be viewed as a pictorial representation of that Great British sensibility, to maintain a ‘stiff upper lip’ in the face of adversity.

At the start of World War II, Cundall worked for the War Artists’ Advisory Committee and latterly as an Admiralty artist working on Merchant Navy subjects. As such, he spent time on the Medway, in the West Country and also on the Thames with the latter surely influencing the present work which brings to mind the area of Blackfriars in London. The artist produced other works in this vein and on an epic scale including his seminal The Withdrawal from Dunkirk (1940) now in the collection of The Imperial War Museum, London.

We are grateful to Jackie Setter and Ian Jack for assistance

Disclaimer:
Modern British Art Gallery are continually seeking to improve the quality of the information on their website. We actively undertake to post new and more accurate information on our stable of artists.

We openly acknowledge the use of information from other sites including Wikipedia, artbiogs.co.uk and Tate.org and other public domains. We are grateful for the use of this information and we openly invite any comments on how to improve the accuracy of what we have posted.

THE ARTIST

Charles Cundall
Charles
Cundall
1890 - 1971

Painter, potter and stained glass artist, born in Stratford, Lancashire. After working as a designer for Pilkington’s Pottery Company under Gordon Forsyth, Cundall studied at Manchester School of Art, obtaining a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, 1912. After World War I army service he returned to the Royal College in 1918, then from 1919 to 1920 attended the Slade, and furthered his studies in Paris. Cundall traveled widely in several continents and became noted for his panoramic pictures, such as Bank Holiday Brighton, in the Tate Gallery (accession no. NO4700). He was a member of NEAC, RP, RWS and other bodies and was a prolific RA exhibitor. He had first solo show at Colnaghi 1927. He was an Official War Artist in World War II, during which time he was sent to Quebec (1944). In the same year he was elected RA. His wife was the artist Jacqueline Pietersen.

His technical facility – especially when working on large panoramic canvases – was remarkable. His pictures are rich with texture, light and movement. He was equally at ease with aerial views, landscapes, seascapes and cityscapes, and was a master of crowd scenes. His work as an Official War Artist has never received the attention it merits.

MORE PICTURES BY ARTIST

SKU: 10619

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Pont Neuf, Dusk, Paris

£2,850.00

SKU: 9903

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Pont Saint-Michel

£2,750.00

SKU: 9862

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

H.M.S. Cyclops, Portsmouth

£6,800.00

SKU: 7794

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

The Pool of London

£650.00

SKU: 7798

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Open goods wagon

£300.00

SKU: 7719

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Townscape with terraced housing

£625.00

SKU: 7425

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Brewery sketch Watneys, circa1953

£575.00

SKU: 7406

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Crowd watching a regatta

£225.00

SKU: 6964

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Sketch for Fair at Waterville Co Kerry, circa 1950

£945.00

SKU: 6965

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Sketch for Prospect Mills

£975.00

SKU: 6966

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Newport, 1963

£3,950.00

SKU: 6967

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Garage behind town houses

£675.00

SKU: 6961

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Two sketches of Cannes, 1964-65

£1,275.00

SKU: 6936

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Steel Company of Wales, Abbey Works Port Talbot IV

£875.00

SKU: 6928

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Study for Excavation in Park Lane, early 1960s

£3,850.00

SKU: 6926

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Study for The Thames at WindsorA Regatta Scene (B)

£1,200.00

SKU: 6927

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Study for the Central Cricket & Recreation Ground, Hastings, c.1952

£3,950.00

SKU: 6922

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

B. Sketch for Demolition of St Thomas, 1968

£600.00

SKU: 6611

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Complete contents of the London Sketchbook

£2,800.00

SKU: 6576

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Study of London docks

£350.00

SKU: 6573

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Study for The Hipper at Kiel, c. 1945

£1,575.00

SKU: 5661

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Study of arms and hands

£1,600.00

SKU: 5063

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Calm in the Baltic, 1935

£2,400.00

SKU: 5001

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Red brick house in field

£650.00

SKU: 4939

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Study for Cricket match

£600.00

SKU: 3644

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

View of the village

£620.00

SKU: 3584

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Approaching the Bridge, 1935

£2,750.00

SKU: 3585

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Coronation Stand, Westminster Abbey, 1953

£875.00

SKU: 3564

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Demolishing the Walls of Paris, 1922

£6,000.00

SKU: 1471

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Warwick Castle

£975.00

SKU: 1474

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Tuilleries Gardens, 1955

£6,000.00

SKU: 487

Charles Cundall (1890 - 1971)

Lockheed Hudson, c.1942

£2,350.00