Olive Wood (1883 - 1973)

Self Portrait as a chauffeuse, serving with the WAAC, circa 1917

SKU: 9882
Oil on canvas
20 x 13 1/2 in. (51 x 34 cm)

Height – 51cm
Width – 34cm


Private Collection

It has been suggested that this is a self portrait – the artist would have been in her early 30’s at the time of this painting.

One of the areas of employment where new opportunities opened up for women during WW1 was in transport. Women began working as drivers, bus conductresses, ticket collectors, porters, carriage cleaners and bus drivers.

Pressure from women for their own uniformed service to assist the war effort began in August 1914. After a War Office investigation which showed that many jobs being done by soldiers in France could instead be done by women, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was established in December 1916. In April 1918, the WAAC was renamed Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps. The Women’s Royal Naval Service was formed in November 1917 and the Women’s Royal Air Force was set up on 1 April 1918. In total, over 100,000 women joined Britain’s armed forces during the war.

We are grateful to Ablett Lester for assistance.

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Olive Wood
1883 - 1973

Olive Wood (1883-1973) was a miniature portrait painter and illustrator of children’s books. She trained at the Clapham and Camberwell Schools of Art and lived and worked in Dulwich Village, London. She exhibited illustrations and pen and ink page designs at the Royal Academy and at the Society of Women Artists Royal Miniature Society and ARMS from 1914 through to 1968. Her early designs incorporate art nouveau motifs. Later, she contributed illustrations to collections of children’s stories and poetry, and to popular annuals such as Bo-Peep Annual and Little Folks. 

We are grateful to Ablett Lester for this information.