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4 April 2016
To York and there in the the magnificent Art Gallery is the newly opened exhibition of First World War paintings; it was at the Imperial War Museum but is somehow (better hung? more paintings?) even more extraordinary and, without wanting to sound soppy, awe-inspiring. The stars for us, naturally, were the paintings by Flora Lion and Anna Airy. This is Flora Lion’s Women’s Canteen at Phoenix Works, Bradford 1918. It is huge (two metres across) and knockout, worth a day in York from anywhere in the country for this painting alone: the colours, the life, the way your eye is immediately and curiously drawn to the white china mugs, the beauty of the clothes – and you can almost hear the babble of conversation from all the women in the room. It’s the women in William – and Englishman and The Happy Tree come to life. Is anyone writing a book about Flora Lion? Is anyone writing a PhD? We think not…
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