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This is one of several paintings Sutherland made of the Silvertown area of London’s East End. Close to the docks, this was one of London’s most impoverished areas and suffered some of the most devastating damage. The artist was greatly moved by the destruction and loss of life. He may have chosen the subject of a pub as a symbolic centre of a community. Though he never depicted dead bodies, he seems to use the broken building as a symbol, as its broken rafters suggest ribs.

May 2007