Period: The war years

Julia Julia
painted in Purleigh, Essex, England, c. 1940
oil on cardboard 44.9 x 30.3 cm
not signed, not dated
private collection

In this portrait of her daughter, Julia, Stella Bowen has captured her as a young adult, born in the aftermath of one world war, only to reach maturity during another.

During the Second World War, Julia used her fluent French and typing skills for liaison work in the Army, with the Free French Forces, and later with the Auxiliary Territorial Service, a women’s service that performed support tasks for the British Army, including playing a vital role in anti-aircraft operations.