In 1918, the Canadian War Memorials Fund commissioned paintings and sculptures depicting women’s work on the home front as part of its project to document Canada’s participation in the war. Manly Edward MacDonald painted scenes of women working in the fields, including Apple Picking and Land Girls Hoeing. They are now part of the Beaverbrook Collection of War Art at the Canadian War Museum.
Different accounts place these paintings of farmerettes in the Bay of Quinte area or the Niagara Peninsula, both truck farming (market garden) areas in Ontario. The Farm Service Corps was an Ontario government program to recruit young women to do paid farm work, replacing men who became soldiers. (Women have always worked beside men on their family farms, of course.)
Land Girls Hoeing is high on a wall in the museum’s display of WW1 on the home front. Apple Picking was brought out of storage for a special exhibit on women and war earlier this year. A shame that they are not seen as companion pieces at eye level on permanent display.
September 28, 2016 at 06:03
Thank you for bringing these paintings to our attention. I did not know about them.
September 28, 2016 at 09:15
I’m coming around to Beaverbrook’s idea to house the war art he commissioned as a collection in a war memorial building. What we can see at the War Museum is fine, but only a small proportion is on display and often displayed as wallpaper.