Saturday, December 29, 2018

Victoria Monkhouse (1885 – 1970) - British Artist and illustrator, possibly best remembered for her illustrations of women working on the Home Front in Britain during the First World War.

Louisa Victoria Monkhouse was born on 24th May 1885 in Barton, Chesterton, Cambridgeshire
Her parents were Alfred William Monkhouse, an Anglican Church Minister, and his wife, Mary Eliza Monkhouse, nee Stuart, who was from Canada.   Louisa had the following siblings:  Mary Violet, b. 1877, Alf Cyril Delopope, b. 1878, Mabel Agnes, b., 1879, Ellen Janet, b. 1882.

Victoria was educated at Cambridge University where, alongside her studies, she created a series of caricatures of university academics, which the “Cambridge University Magazine” published during 1907.

During the First World War the sisters all helped the war effort - Mary Violet worked as a Red Cross Nurse, Mabel Agnes, worked in Ordnance in Coventry, Ellen Janet was a VAD  nurse and Victoria worked as a canteen worker.

Following the establishment of the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London during the First World War, a decision was made to record the contribution women were making to the war effort.  Writer and explorer Agnes Conway, daughter of the first honorary Director-General of the IWM, was appointed to organise and lead the Museum's newly created Women's Work Sub-Committee.  Agnes contacted Victoria Monkhouse and commissioned her to produce a series of sketches and watercolours showing women working in the jobs left vacant by men who were serving in the forces. Victoria produced a series of paintings, showing women working as bus conductresses, drivers, window cleaners and in a wide variety of other exclusively male roles.

After the War, Victoria exhibited her work in various exhibitions during the 1920s.
In 1939 Victoria lived with her sisters – Mary Violet, who was also an artist, Mabel Agnes and Ellen Janet - in Eton, Buckinghamshire.  Victoria died in 1970.