Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books

Monday Monuments and Memorials – Munitions Worker and The Shell Finisher, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa

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Happy International Women’s Day, a day late. In honour, here are two more statues from Frances Loring’s and Florence Wyle’s 1918 commission of sculptures of “girl war workers”, part of the project to document Canada’s participation in the war. Munitions Worker is by Wyle. The Shell Finisher by Loring is balancing two shells on her shoulders. Each statue is about two feet high.

Loring and Wyle were born in the US and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. They moved to Toronto in 1913, where they were collectively known as The Girls.

Christine Boyanoski talks about the war sculptures in Loring and Wyle: Sculptors’ Legacy:

Both Women have used the folds in the workers’ garments to enliven the surface and underline the action being performed, to the point where the uniforms seem drenched, revealing the underlying anatomy. Florence’s surfaces are more detailed, having been broken up by a system of meaningful lines and creases. Frances has paid less attention to detail; the surfaces are broader, less broken up by folds, which are used more to describe lines of force. (pp 23-25)

Now part of the Beaverbrook Collection of War Art, these and some of the other bronzes from the Loring and Wyle commission are on display in the lobby of the Canadian War Museum until 2017. Some have been in storage for almost 100 years. I hope the War Museum keeps them on permanent display. 

Author: greatwar100reads

Canadian crusader for equality and justice. Connoisseur and creator of the written word. Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books and monuments. Read more at

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