Reception desk at Gowrie House, Eastbourne

Place Europe: United Kingdom, England, Sussex, Eastbourne
Accession Number ART26270
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 76 cm x 91.4 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on canvas
Location Main Bld: World War 2 Gallery: Gallery 4: Aftermath
Maker Bowen, Stella
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made 1945
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Upon arrival at the Australian prisoner of war repatriation centre at Eastbourne, the men were provided with a meal and accommodation. After settling in, they were allowed to send a free cable home and were presented with a Red Cross parcel. The men were presented with new uniforms and pay advances and then given 14 days leave and rail passes to explore Britain. Upon their return, they awaited embarkation to Australia. In this painting, Bowen has captured a friendly gathering of ex-prisoners of war with female British Red Cross officers, the group framed by the warmth of a desk lamp and watched over benevolently by portraits of Winston Churchill and John Curtin.

Stella Bowen was an official war artist from 7 Feb 1944 to Nov 1945. Bowen dated this work 'June', but as POWs mostly returned 1945, that is most likely when this work was created.

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