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Dame Laura Knight’s study is part of a body of expressive drawings that explored the barrage balloon. She made these in preparation for a painting commissioned by the War Office to promote the recruitment of female operators for RAF Balloon Command - 'A Balloon Site: Coventry' (1942, Imperial War Museums - LD2750). Coventry was devastated by Blitz raids, and barrage balloons were integral to defending remaining sites against attack. Knight particularly enjoyed the challenge of drawing the strange spectacle of balloons, describing the object as ‘a living thing’ manoeuvred by female operators ‘like ants with an egg’. Acquired through artist bequest, 1974.

Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon



Study: A Balloon Site, Coventry (III)




graphite on paper

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Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon

Grahame Park Way, London, Greater London NW9 5LL England

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