A 1943 painting by Josh Kirby is featured in WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss.
Josh Kirby studied art at the Liverpool City Society of Art in 1943 and in the same year was evacuated to South Wales to avoid the heavy bombing of his native city. He was 15 years old when he painted this remarkable image of a local fete - a scene that almost succeeds in disguising the fact that Britain was at war.
About the work:
A notice pinned to the canvas of the Aunt Sally stall mentions the Rotary Fair. Rotary International was precisely at that time beginning to expand its mission to promote peace and international understanding through educational and cultural exchanges: an important London Rotary conference was held in 1943, attended by ministers of education and observers from around the world and inspiring the establishment of UNESCO after the war, in 1946.
The scene is peopled by civilians enjoying themselves: large numbers of children, parents and older folk. There appear to be a few men of service age dressed in ‘civvies’: some of the youths manning the stalls may have been travelling fairground people, or possibly slightly too young for conscription, while male punters could, for example, be miners or other workers in other reserved occupations. The figure in a blue and scarlet uniform is probably a civilian brass bandsman wearing a quasi-military uniform.