Blitzed! aims to bring the work of wartime artists to new audiences: those who experienced the bombing of Bath in April 1942; young people aged 7 to 12; students of history and art; local residents with general interest in art and history; and visitors to Bath. Works by 23 wartime artists will be exhibited. They include official and unofficial war artists (John Piper, Leslie Atkinson, Norma Bull, and Graham Clilverd); Recording Britain artists (Clifford and Rosemary Ellis, Phyllis Ginger and Thomas Hennell ); architectural illustrators (Arthur Fare, JDM Harvey and Leonora Ison); and locally based artists (Paul Methuen, Mordaunt Parker, Walter Sickert and Sybil Tawse). Their paintings and drawings record the work done following Bath’s Blitz: rescuing the injured; salvaging belongings; removing unexploded bombs; clearing bomb sites and repairing homes. Major wartime organisations are represented including the Auxiliary Fire Service, the WRVS, Civil Defence, Rescue Services, Bomb Disposal Squad and Home Guard.
These works of art will be put into context with the help of local people. The Victoria Art Gallery has issued a public appeal for memories from those who lived through the bombing of Bath. They are undertaking an oral history project and incorporating people’s first hand-accounts into the displays, together with objects and memorabilia from the public appeal. The exhibition is supported by a wide number of organisations and individuals. Major public collections have agreed to lend works, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Government Art Collection, Imperial War Museum and Tate Britain. Works from the Victoria Art Gallery’s own collections are also included, much of which has not been previously exhibited.