Woking, The Lightbox, The Ingram Collection: Prints and Printmaking, 1 February – 30 April 2011;
Woking, The Lightbox, The Ingram Collection: The Impact of War, 15 October 2014 – 4 January 2015
Barnett Freedman worked as a sign-writer, stonemason’s and architect’s assistant before attending evening classes at St Martins School of Art from 1916-1922, and later at the Royal College of Art (RCA) where he studied under Sir William Rothenstein. In 1930, Freedman joined the RCA staff as an instructor in still life, and also taught at the Ruskin School of Drawing in Oxford. Freedman was one of the first artists to be commissioned by the War Artists Advisory Committee at the start of the Second World War, abandoning his role as a book illustrator. He was posted to France at the start of the war, staying on as long as possible before being evacuated. He returned in 1944 to record the setting up of operational harbours in Normandy. In between, his interest was in recording operational methods and he was commissioned to work for the Admiralty, and specifically on HMS Repulse, in July 1941. Here, we see the interior of a gun turret with its loading mechanism. He spent the remainder of the war working with the Navy, living in submarines and battleships, and recording what he saw in drawings, watercolours and oil paintings of great vividness and power.