Barrage Balloon, 1940
Framed (ref: 7674)
Signed and dated
14 ¼ x 17 ¼ in. (36 x 44 cm)
Exhibited: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 136.
Literature: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 136, page 179.
Barrage balloons were mainly intended to prevent dive bomber attacks, forcing them to fly higher and into the effective range of anti-aircraft guns. However, they could do little to prevent high level bombing raids which became the norm for the Luftwaffe.
After war broke out the number of balloons multiplied with around 1,500 in place by the middle of 1940, a third of these over London. Teams of volunteers were drafted in to operate the balloons on a shift system, using cables and winches to raise and lower them as needed. This watercolour shows two men tethering a balloon with what look like rows of sandbags.
Harwood was born in Lancashire and studied at the Royal College of Art, later teaching at a number of English art schools.
We are grateful to John Noott of John Noott Galleries and Malcolm Rogers for assistance with the catalogue note.