Cliff Rowe (1904-1989):
The Call- out, circa 1941
Framed (ref: 5109)
Signed in the plate
15 x 21 in. (38 x 53.2 cm)
Exhibited: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 23.
Literature: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 23, page 60-61.
Rowe was a politically active artist – in the early 1930s he made designs for Communist Party publications and spent eighteen months travelling and working in the Soviet Union. In 1934 he helped establish the Artists’ International Association whose work included helping refugees from Hitler’s Germany and providing medical aid to the British International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War.
In this lithographic poster (produced to aid the war effort) Rowe depicts a National Fire Service crew scramble to their truck in response to an ominous glow on the horizon. With little protective gear other than a steel helmet and a pair of gum boots these volunteers were transported in trucks equipped with extension ladders and a trailer holding baskets to move rubble and trestles to prop up masonry or roof structures that had collapsed.
All of the Municipal Fire and Rescue services suffered casualties during raids, not only from High Explosives dropped by the enemy, but from the falling debris from exploded shells fired by British anti-aircraft artillery batteries.
We are grateful to Andrew Cormack for assistance.