Lot 83
  • 83


2,000 - 3,000 GBP
32,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • John Kynnersley Kirby
  • The Week's Ration 
  • signed J.K.Kirby and dated 1944. (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 91 by 71cm., 35¾ by 28in.


Robert Kime, London, 18 March 2010


London, Royal Academy of Arts, Summer Exhibition, 29 April - 7 August 1944, cat. no.325


War Time Calendar and Christmas Card circa 1944, (details untraced)
Alistair Langlands, Robert Kime, London, 2015, p.15, where the present work is photographed hanging in Robert Kime's central London shop.

Catalogue Note

When we queue for our chop in the Butcher’s Shop
Our thoughts turn to days of old,
With their choice of Chump or juicy Rump
Of saddle or Sirloin bold,
But as our JOINT efforts are helping the war
In no uncertain fashion,
The CUT’S worthwhile, so with WINNING smile
We take our weekly ration!
During his career, James Kirby painted a series of works that centre on the local characters of Bishop’s Stortford going about their daily toils. The present painting depicts Charles J. Woodford, the butcher of Dane Street, defiantly posed behind his counter, on which sits a noticeably small cut of meat. Painted in 1944, at the height of nationwide rationing, the painting epitomises Britain’s fortitude and resilience in the face of adversity, and gained considerable attention when it was used in a wartime calendar published by Raphael Tuck alongside a rhyme on rationing.

Interestingly weekly meat rations in WWII could only have a maximum value of one shilling two pence as depicted in the present work.