Wartime paintings by Olga Lehmann
Olga Lehmann (1912 – 2001)
studied at the Slade and was known for her murals and portraits. She was permitted by the War Office to make sketches of London bomb damage, air raid shelters and ARP personnel, and her own flat in Hampstead was destroyed in the Blitz in 1940.
The painting of Charlbert Street early on in the Second World War shows the Congregational Chapel in St John’s Wood Terrace at the top of the street, and the de Walden Institute on the right. The properties on the corner of the street on the left no longer exist as flats were built in Newcourt Street after the War. It is believed that the structures on the pavement edge of Charlbert Street depict air raid shelters but perhaps someone will remember what exactly these were like. She was probably two or three storeys up in Oslo Court when she painted this picture.
The shelter in Oslo Court offered a safe haven which was used by many St John’s Wood residents as well as those who lived in the flats.
The shelter in St John’s Wood church crypt shows a Christmas meal where an attempt has been made to have cheerful decorations.
After the war Olga was involved in the design of theatrical and film scenery and costumes.