Modern British Art by Frank Oldham: Kingsway Works Luton, 1947 |





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Frank Oldham:
Kingsway Works Luton, 1947

Framed (ref: 5189)


Oil on canvas, 28 × 36 in. (92 × 71 cm.)

Tags: work

Provenance: Laporte plc 1940s–2004; private collection since 2004.
Literature: Paul Liss, Laporte, A History in Art, Laporte plc, London, 2000, illus. p. 8.

Laporte, a chemical manufacturer based in Luton, commissioned a cycle of  paintings, early in the 1940's, to record their company history contribution to the war effort: the production of barium peroxide and hydrogen peroxide, essential ingredients for the manufacture of explosive, incendiary and pyrotechnic compositions.

Barium peroxide was produced using a long tunnel kiln, a process first introduced during the First World War when supplies of naturally occurring barium peroxide were in short supply.

Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidising agent, which at high strengths causes instantaneous ignition (at 97% concentrate it is used for rocket propulsion). At the end of the Second World War the government handed over to Laporte as part of a reparations programme the V-1 and V-2 production plants in Munich, where weapons incorporated high-test hydrogen peroxide in their launch and propulsion systems. Laporte sold the plants back to Germany in 2003.

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