A Trainee Nurse’s pay at the outset of World War Two

A historian friend has written me about a Jewish woman who left Berlin, and saved her life, coming to England and starting her training in 1939. She had free board and bed and earned just 36/- per month. That is £3 and 6s. By November 1943 she was fully qualified and working in a General Hospital and her new salary became £5 and 5s-nurses were considered professionals before the NHS was formed and  were paid in Guineas (I Guinea= £1 and 1s). In order to fathom what this might have bought I looked up some figures in a couple of hours in a local newspaper archive. The following is what I discovered there.

Image result for Nurses Uniform in 1940

West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser  Feb 8th 1940    Price 2d
(12d= i/- (shilling) and 20/- equals £1 (a pound) )
Cockerels £1 per 100
Rental for a 2 bedroom house, sitting room, kitchen and scullery in Richmond Terrace in Truro £20 per annum
500 stamps 2/6 i.e. 2 shillings and 6d= 1/8 of a Pound
Cure for corns on feet 9d per bottle or 10 and 1/2d by post
Newly soiled Army boots 6/6 approx 1/3 of a Pound
soled and heeled 7/-
Unbleached bed sheets -double bed sized 7/11 and 1/2d (So it doesn’t seem 8 shillings!)
Turkish towels 1/11 and 1/2d
Unused 30 horsepower Electric Motor secondhand cost 50/- (Two and a half pounds) for sale at 30/-
Graham Piano in a walnut case £14 and 14/-
Other modern pianos in part exchange £7 and 10/-
Ginger wine 3/- for a bottle
Port styled wine (i.e. not real Port) a quarter bottle 9d
Full bottle of Sherry 2/6= 30d
Large oval bottle of port styled wine 3/6
West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser  Feb 12th 1940    Price 2d
 
Truro City Band – Grand Dance -admission 1/3 (obviously haf of half a crown!)
Kidney Pills on offer 1/3 and at 3/- and at 5/-
The Cornishman Dec 28th 1939 
 
Weekend Return Fare to Isles of Scilly 12/6 from Penzance!
New Agricutural Wages Act 1924 Update-comes into force on 1st Jan 1940
Minimum Wage for Male over 21 at 37/- (up from 34/-)
                                                14 year old  11/6
                           for Female over 20 6d per hour
                                                14-15 3d per hour
An advert 14 inches by 16 inches (half page) cost £18
80 word advert for 3 weeks cost 7/3
(It announces in this edition that overworked Nazis will be getting 3 weeks extra holiday next year and those cancelled in September will have their holidays restored}
(Also British Contraband seize 7000 tons of goods of contraband of which…
4000 tons are petrol
600 tons of foodstuffs and beverages
200 tons of tin
100 tons of rubber
Image result for Russo-Finnish War in 1940
and in North Finland 5000 Russians captured by Finns
Berlin Wireless announces Hitler to visit Western Front)
Wife’s Maintenance set by Camborne Court after husband’s pretty clear adultery = 15/- per week
Fees for a Girl’s School relocated from Isle of Wight-Westwing- to open in Jan 24th 1940
£30 and 30/- under 8 years boarding and £35 and 35/- boarding
Kindergarten £5 5/- per term.
The other authority on prices at this moment in time was, of course, George Orwell’s account of the reasonable cost of reading compared to smoking and drink. Sadly, it appears that so-called Agency nurses may be reasonably paid but if Jeremy Hunt’s pronouncements are anything to go by, nurses are scarcely likely to have a much better time in the forthcoming period. The long shadow of Brexit has already, as is well known made for a severe shortage of staff. The Conservative Party are great believers in the so=called free market, except of course when it applies to Public Sector Pay!
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Koloman Moser (1868-1918)

Koloman Moser (1868 – 1918) was an Austrian artist who exerted considerable influence on graphic art and many the most important artists of the Viennese secession. In the early 1890s he began to develop a highly innovative and individualistic Art Nouveau style, while working as an illustrator. He designed books, postcards, stamps, vignettes for magazines, stained glass, porcelain, ceramics andjewellery, etc. He was born in Vienna and studied at the Vienna Academy and at the School of Applied Arts, where he taught from 1899. As co-founder of the secession of Vienna, he joined Gustav KLIMT, Josef Hoffmann, and others, to establish a new form of art, moving far away from the academy. He was editor of the newspaper Ver Sacrum, and graphic designer for several years. In journalism he covered art and literature. In 1905, together with Gustav Klimt’s group, he separated from the secession of Vienna. The same year it married Editha Mautner von Markhof, daughter of one of the owners of one the large industrial fortunes of Austria. It will be noted that his work was heavily influenced by the Swiss painter,Ferdinand Hodler: who also ifluenced Gerstl and Giacometti.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Hodler

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Albin Egger-Lienz (1868-1926)

Albin Egger-Lienz was born in the village of Stribach near Dölsach in the Tyrol. He received his first training from his father, painter and photographer Georg Egger. He then moved to the Munich Academy to continue his training, where he met Franz von Defregger, who strongly influenced his art. Ferdinand Hodler and Jean-François Millet were important models for him to follow. Even as a child, Egger-Lienz was receptive to religious sentiments; The peasant world, with its hard daily life and structured by Catholicism, became a basic theme of his artistic creation. In 1899, Egger-Lienz moved with his wife to Vienna, where he remained up to 1911. In 1911 he received lectures at the Saxon High School of Fine Arts in Weimar. He left the Vienna Academy in 1918. It was also in Vienna that Egger-Lienz had conflicting experiences as an artist. His important work “Totentanz”, which was exhibited in the Künstlerhaus of Vienna, received contradictory reactions, and Egger-Lienz was not given any public contracts. During the First World War he became a painter of the conflict. The four years of war proved to be a defining feature of his future life. In 1918, Egger-Lienz moved his permanent residence to the Tirol. Later work of Egger-Lienz comprised many religious motifs, peasant scenes, stories of the fight of the freedom and the horrors of the war itself. Under the influence of Hodler, Egger-Lienz managed to simplify his  imagery with a monumental expressiveness.

 

Derain, Balthus and Giacometti in Paris

This exhibition is currently showing at Le Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville in Paris until the 29th of October and comprises some 350 works which depict the friendship between these three artists. Their friendship which began in 1933 shows their joint fascination for classical Italian masters, formal clarity and experimentation with both still life and open air painting.

Derain, in particular, emerges as the significant and productive painter in this innovative and energetic period and naturally, a truly brilliant colourist. Here we see his later work and not his fauvist period. This exhibition shows their cross fertilisation between the three and their enthusiasms which clearly ricocheted off each other. In addition they shared models, friendships, collectors and in particular their interests in all aspects of contemporary drama. They were, until after the war, energetic in their correspondence, although without clear transcripts, their letters are not always easy to read even if the visitor is a fluent in French. An impressive self-portrait by Giacometti dominates the entrance, which calls to mind a certain likeness to Duncan Grant. Grant and Derain were post-impressionists deeply influenced by Matisse and Cezanne and indeed both were acquaintances of Gertrude Stein.

When comparing these three artists, each of whom are creative masters, it is worth considering their dates:- Derain (1880-1954), Giacometti(1901-1966) and Balthus(1908-2001). Derain was then their guiding light and already very well-known. He was in recovery from his years of military service but ready to move beyond fauvism towards a new classicism. He found time however to design for Diaghilev and the Ballets Russe.  He studied the masters of the early Renaissance and then Pompeian art. It was one particular still life that attracted the penetrating attention of Giacometti with one work- a sombre work from 1936 Nature morte aux poires.

Giacometti is currently on show at the Tate Modern until the 10th September and a few weeks later a new film appears with the Australian actor, Geoffrey Rush playing Giacometti. However, this Paris exhibition shows the cultural hinterland of this key modernist and his interest in working with Beckett, for example in the minimalist staging of Waiting for Godot.

The range of Balthus’s work is illustrated including the disquieting suspense filled eroticism of his depiction of reading, languorous adolescents. Balthus’s East-European ancestry has been the subject of much controversy but it seems that his mother was Jewish and romantically involved with the poet, Rilke. His work shows a deep knowledge and interest in literature. He had moved to Paris in 1933 from Morocco and formed a circle of friends which included the foremost poets and playwrights of the period. The range of his work is shown here and it is unsurprising to learn that the controversial psychoanalyst, Jacques Lacan was a major collector of his oeuvre.

The work on show includes some thought provoking portraits, sculptures, stage sets and photographs. It is not difficult to discern the disquieting political atmosphere of the times. As is well known, Derain stood accused on account of his visit to Berlin during the German Occupation. Nevertheless, Derain appears to have offered protection to members of Balthus’s family.    These works which include the magnificent etiolated sketches, almost carved into the background, by Giacometti, evidence the frenzied artistic activity situated between Saint-Germain and Montparnasse.

 

Their friendships included writers and poets like Artiste Arnaud, Max Jacob, Jean Cocteau together with Breton, Camus and Malraux. Surrealism was penetrating the dramatic experiments of the evolving “theatre of cruelty” with projects by Sartre and Jean-Louis Barrault. The world of fashion with Doucet and Dior, too was an occasional involvement. This is an exciting exhibition and prospective visitors require a minimum of two hours to get their money’s worth.

 

 

Moody girls with shiny noses……..and…..Jazz!

“Inesvigo” (Inconsequential) on YouTube is a constant source of pleasure. The combination of paintings with a musical backing gives a short journey into the imagination and concerns of each artist that he chooses to portray. For instance, I have just discovered the bohemian, metropolitan world of Milt Kobayashi.

Image result for Milt Kobayashi.

These paintings by Kobayashi give a glimpse of what I assume to be New York and perhaps Hawaii. They are interesting as a documentation of a historical and social context which is as vivid of the era as, for instance, Christian Schad is of the Weimar Period. The execution is quite different however and very expressive and not dissimilar from the Plymouth painter, Robert Lenkiewicz. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Lenkiewicz 

It is clear that his work is much influenced by the famous French Painters like Degas, Lautrec and Manet. Perhaps indeed some were painted in Paris as the bottles and tablecloths seem to intimate. Often the subjects, treated with moving sympathy seem filled with melancholy -that the Germans call “Wehmutig”.

This is what Inesvigo writes:-“He was born in New York but soon moved to Oahu, Hawaii with his family. At age eight he went to Los Angeles. After graduating from the University of California in 1970, he began working as an illustrator. In 1977 he returned to New York and when he visited the Metropolitan Museum his artistic career changed when he saw a portrait of Velazquez’s Juan de Pareja. He began to study the work of Whistler, Chase and Sargent, who had Velazquez’s influence. Then he studied Japanese painting of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The perspective of Japanese art provided harmony in color, composition and drawing – Kobayashi has received two important awards: the National Academy of Design’s Ranger Purchased Award and the Allied Arts Silver Medal. His work has appeared in the magazines Forbes, Fortune and Reader’s Digest”

Philby, Zoltan Kodaly and István Szegedi Szüts

First let us get ourselves into the right mood with some Hungarian Music –from :-Szegedi Szűcs Judit: Három sós perec

Now translated from the Hungarian version of Index against Censorship by means of the partially garbled Google translate we read of a certain man -István Szegedi Szüts being bound up somehow with the Fourth Man, Kim Philby:-

“Probably never know how mixed up next to each other Szűts Szeged and Philby because Philby one word did not remember the incident, as a later joint útjaikról not, in fact never down either by Szegedi Szűts name, just “Hungarian” referred to as hinted. Nevertheless Szűts Szegedi could play a significant and important role in his life, has recently come of age since the 1930 Easter led Philby’s first trip to Hungary. Motorcycle arrived, but that where you’ve been, shrouded, but much seems certain that Szűts Szegedi’s company reached the Low Countries and Subotica surroundings, where the Black Country is very similar conditions met, but are not industrial workers, but the manual peasants life seen with your own eyes.

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Philby same year appeared again in Budapest, this time in the company of Tim Milne, who first hired King Street apartment and a car repair shop encamped, which was for the owner than George Szűts Szeged. Philby and Milne very well felt in the capital: fried meat ate, swam the Danube, which have been removed and used at the time, watched the Blue Angels (was Marlene Dietrich’s first major success in 1930, the German sound film made Heinrich Mann’s novel, first pool by way of ), they walked along the Margaret Island and Milne’s memoir, according to Philby never once gave signs of increasing political beliefs. Szegedi Szűts not name popped up ever again; if there was a secret painter mid-thirties established in England in 1959 when the death took to the grave with him. Philby’s commitment towards the working class and communism found it a few years later confirmed in Vienna, where two Hungarian also participated actively in the consciousness of Philby spy and of becoming.”

Which is very interesting and suggests the possibility that to an unknown extent, Philby was involved with a Hungarian painter who knew the Russian spy and was possibly a contact in his activities. This was not just any painter but an artist who has been compared with Paul Nash, was an excellent woodcut printer and also a talented writer, István Szegedi Szüts. He was born in Budapest and lived for a large portion of his life in the small south Cornwall fishing village of Mullion. István Szegedi Szüts was a member of an Olympic fencing team in 1912 and a brave officer fighting the Russians in the Carpathians during the First World War. It was at this time that he was ordered to shoot any straggelers among his own men to prevent a more horrid death from persuing wolves. His fascinating prints recording his experiences in the K and K forces can be seen at http://www.bhandl.co.uk/articles/2013/03/19/viewer.aspx.

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István Szegedi Szüts, a self-portrait at the age of about 32
István Szegedi Szüts, a self-portrait at the age of about 32

Images from the First World War may be seen at Barnes, Hampton and Littlewood where they say:”Szuts first visited England in 1929 and held a solo exhibition at the Gieves Gallery, London in the same year. In 1936 he moved to Cornwall with his partner Gwynedd Jones-Parry, whom he married in 1937. The couple lived at Caunce Head near Mullin on The Lizard and remained there for the rest of their lives. Szuts exhibited with The Newlyn Society of Artists and The Penwith Society of Arts.” The link is at http://www.bhandl.co.uk/articles/2013/03/19/viewer.aspx

Wordless Book,"My War" showing a village during WW1
Wordless Book,”My War” showing a village during WW1

 

A teacher and educational philosopher he was also a friend of a friend of the composers Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály and György Ránki.

 

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Paintings of Refugees by Maurice Minkowski(1881-1930) and Frances Hodgkins(1869-1947)

The paintings of Jewish refugees from Odessa and Bialystock by Maurycy Minkowski around 1910 are haunting, heartbreaking and evocative. Yet both in their colourful lyricism and moving composition they are a reminder that the refugee crisis is by no means a new phenomena; they are also pointers to some sort of categorical imperative that it requires urgent action still today. These are art works which demand that the fight for peaceful refuge and against racism is taken seriously now and once again.

Translating from the IWO in Buenos Aires, where it states:-

He was born into a wealthy Jewish family in Warsaw in 1881. At five years old he was deaf as a result of an accident. Having shown artistic vocation, he studied art at the Art Academy of Krakow where he graduated with honors. In his early years he painted portraits of local personalities and impressionistic landscapes.
His experience Pogrom of Bialystok (1905) was decisive in the course of his life: he abandoned his specialty as a landscape and portrait painter to devote himself almost exclusively to painting scenes of religious and secular Jewish life in Eastern Europe. 
Minkowski rejected the new artistic movements of the early twentieth century to put his painting in the service of a style that could be defined as “ethnographic” and became the portraitist of anonymous Jews, refugees, and the impoverished masses. 
His large canvases showing the victims of the pogroms attracted the attention of the European public, and despite the barriers imposed their origin and communication difficulties, his paintings were exhibited in Antwerp, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Paris and other cultural centers in Europe .mm1
in addition to painting many scenes of the suffering of the Jews in Russia and Poland in the early twentieth century, Minkowski devoted much of his work to exalt the role of women in Judaism,
At http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/suplementos/las12/13-2747-2006-07-06.html we read that of  his work  in Buenos Aires, where this deaf and dumb painter, the critics Silvia Bronstein Wilkis and Zachary M. Baker wrote:-
“Soon Minkowski will present to the Argentine public in his simple and beautiful  work. Undoubtedly and without prejudice, the heart will appreciate a work that only the heart has dictated, ” Julio E. Payró.wrote from Belgium in the newspaper La Nacion, in June 1926, “No violence, no scene of lethal fire, brutal invasion, but the memory and the threat of pogrom weigh in the atmosphere of the work of Minkowski (…) Thus, in his immense tenderness, the artist’s gesture Leasehold the horizon of Poland and embraces all suffering humanity, “said the Belgian art critic in another part of his article.”mm2
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Frances Hodgkins (see these two above images of Belgian Refugee children painted in St Ives in 1916) was a significant New Zealand painter of whom David Tovey has written in his interesting book Sea Change Fine and Decorative Art in St Ives 1914-1930. During World War I she spent some time in Zennor, Cornwall, where she worked with the Swansea painter, Cedric Morris, who painted her portrait in 1917.She herself began to paint in oils in 1915.
As the website at the New Zealand Museum, http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/topic/935 states:- “The outbreak of World War One forced Hodgkins to move from Paris to St Ives, a small fishing village in Cornwall, England. Here she found it difficult to travel or earn money and endured considerable hardship. However, it also meant that she had time to paint, and she experimented with larger works, using oil and tempera as an alternative to watercolours. Her works from this time show the influence of Post-Impressionism. “
Tovey points out that under the proactive approach of Gussie Lindner that St Ives took in some 99 refugees from Belgium of whom something like 62 remained in 1915. The large oil which is in the Christchurch,NZ gallery, the upper of these two above was called “Unshatterable” and was exhibited at the International Exhibition in 1916. He quotes from curator Ken Hall at Christchurch who mentions how in this painting the grey swirling area in the top left represents the absent father. Moffat Lindner felt these paintings showed considerable talent and he was to provide for her and encorage her in various ways. More information on Lindner who was a key figure in the St Ives Society of Artists may be found at http://cornwallartists.org/cornwall-artists/moffatt-lindner
 In 1915 St Ives was a small town but played its part in taking in those in dire need-surely now we can maintain this enlightened tradition particularly for those who are victims of the devastating weaponry and ferocious assault.
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