Wartime paintings

This post is a kind of loose follow-up to the last one and also ties up with Westminster City Archives’ recent posts about wartime paintings. I’ve collected pictures by Josephine “Jo” Oakman, and Francis Griffen, Chelsea artists I’ve written about before, so there’s a certain amount of duplication but I think it’s worth putting them in the context of the recent anniversary of VE day.



[Oakman’s picture of Chelsea Town Hall decorated for VE Day. She worked there in her day job.]



[Two paintings of the temporary bridge built for military purposes to the east of Albert Bridge.]



Chelsea residents will be reminded of thw notice on Abert Bridge instructing troops to break step when crossing the bridge.

Although she was out of town when Chelsea Old Church was destroyed by bombing, she was fascinated by the devastation.



A sketch from 1941.



A coloured version.


Another, of the covered ruins.




A postwar painting of the site including the future Roper;s Garden, by another artist.

Francis Griffen was a professional artist and print maker. He too took on the subject of the ruined church.



He also covered another well known bomb incident, at the Guinness Trust estate on the King’s Road.



A gas and water mains were damaged. A volunteer fireman, Anthony Smith rescued trapped residents from a basement and won the George Cross.

This was another incident from the same area.



My favourite Griffen painting is this one, of an evening scene after the war.



Fulham Road looking west at the junction with Old Church Street, the Queen’s Elm pub on the left.

One final picture, never seen before on the blog.



By Charles Sneed Williams: Two Air Raid Wardens, Lieutenant Colonel Eastman and Major Stepney.



5 responses to “Wartime paintings

  • tonytombling

    Brilliant ! Thank you so much.

  • COVID19

    Gerald Wilde: From the Abyss at October Gallery brings together a large selection of paintings by the acclaimed British expressionist painter, from his dark, heavy wartime abstractions to his more jubilant, color-saturated canvases and works on paper from the 19. While the artist died in 1986, this new exhibition at October Gallery marks something of a homecoming for Wilde his was the inaugural exhibition when the gallery opened in 1979.

  • Marcia Howard

    I love genre paintings. They give so much more than just a skillful painter. I especially like the ones by Griffin, but the one of the two air raid wardens by Charles Sneed Williams, is superb.

  • Linda Wright

    I knew Jo Oakman quite well during the 1960s. She was very friendly with Chris Wright and his family. CW also worked at Chelsea Town Hall after the war.
    I have a few of her oil paintings, including Cheyne Walk; a view of the Thames; St Margaret’s church; an unnamed portrait of a young woman.
    I’m not sure if this is of any specific interest to you, but do contact me if anything occurs to you.

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