John Noott at the opening of the exhibition.

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The show runs until May 7 in Woodstock and is to go on tour afterwards. It showcases a range of major moments from the war, often recorded as personal experiences.

Scenes include the evacuation of Dunkirk and the Blitz, while others depict evacuees and refugees, the Home Guard, women factory workers and more.


John Spencer Churchill, Evacuation of Dunkirk, 6pm Wednesday 29 May, 1940, oil on canvas, signed, from The Art of World War II: The John Noott Collection.

Among the artists represented are John Spencer Churchill (nephew of Winston Churchill), Eduardo Paolozzi, Feliks Topolski, Edward Seago and Edward Bawden.

Early memory

Noot was seven at the outbreak of the war. He says: “My experience of the duration stayed strongly in my memory, and when, decades later and as a gallery owner, I saw the odd artwork of the period at auction, some by top artists, I started collecting works which resonated with my boyhood.”


Feliks Topolski, Tube Escalator During a Raid, ink wash, signed, c.1940.

The catalogue that accompanies the collection has more than 70 entries. Noott adds: “My long-term hope is that some collector who is much richer and much younger than me, but who has the same interest, will make an offer I can’t refuse.”