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This is one of several studies made during Bomberg’s official commission from the War Artists Advisory Committee to paint underground bomb stores during the Second World War. Inspired by the sight of thousands of bombs stacked in a disused mine, Bomberg created a composition in which acid colours emerge from shadows, suggesting the dangerous potential of such an arsenal. The sense of menace in these works was prescient as, a few years later, 3,500 tons of explosives were accidentally ignited at the store, causing the largest-ever explosion in Britain.

September 2016