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Percy Horton (1897-1970):
Young man in National Fire Service costume - probably Fireman Turner of Hull
Unmounted (ref: 5137)
Pencil, 16 1/2 x 16 1/2 in. (42 x 42 cm.)
Although he was not an official war artist - Horton was a member of the teaching staff at the RCA - he was given in 1943 a short-term contract by.the WAAC. to portray ordinary people. Commissions included , including J A Leach who worked at the factory of Messrs A V Roe of Manchester (better known as AVRO, makers of planes like the Lancaster bomber. and two Civil Defense sitters", "probably Yorkshiremen", Mr Alderson of Bridlington and Fireman Turner of Hull.
From 1940 the WAAC specifically focused on ‘ordinary’ people, in keeping with the concept of the ‘people’s war’, but mainly civilians who had made a unique contribution to the war effort, including those honoured for their deeds: for example a few had won the George Cross or the George Medal: ‘…in 1943 the WAAC representative from the Ministry of Production favoured the acquisition of yet more factory scenes and portraits, this time as part of a campaign to mollify production workers whose unhappiness with their working conditions was resulting in a worrisome proliferation of strikes….Of the factory pictures commissioned by the Committee in that year, Percy Horton's Blind Workers in a Birmingham Factory was one in which the subject, by suggesting that even the severely handicapped could make a useful contribution to war production, seemed particularly appropriate to the Ministry of Production's purposes.’
We are grateful to Jayne Shrimpton and James Morley for assistance.