A 20th century English School oil study, probably depicting women serving with the Civil Defence Ambulance, £6500 at Moore Allen & Innocent.

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The 23 x 20in (60 x 50cm) oil study appears to show three women in the full uniform of the Civil Defence Ambulance and features several helmets with the letter A.

Unsigned but for the inscription Gledstaff in the lower centre, it was catalogued as ‘Mid 20th century English School, RAF figures in an interior with tin hats, water bottles and boots’ and estimated at £50-80. Multiple bids on the day saw it knocked down at £6500.

The depiction of women in art during the Second World War is relatively rare and was probably key to demand here. It was also an attractive composition and very much of its time in style and execution.

During the Second World War, women volunteers were called upon to assist with the creating of a large ambulance force, mobile units and as members of first aid posts. They had their driving skills tested and were then allocated to a specific ambulance post that was run 24 hours a day.