Portrait of a Salvation Army songster, late 1930s
Framed (ref: 40)
Oil on canvas, 24 x 18 in. (61 x 46 cm.)
The picture shows a Salvation Army songster (singer) with the standard Salvation Army props of flag, drum and timbrel. Flags bore the Army motto ‘Blood and Fire’ as well as the name of the Corps (local church) or band. The style of bonnet worn by the songster did not appear till the 1930s.Whilst a tradition of painting portraits of the Salvation Army generals existed, portraits of songsters are rare.
In the late 1930s the Salvation Army was under the command of Evangeline Booth, fourth daughter of the founder (General 1934–9). Membership of the Army had peaked in 1920, but was still in a healthy state, with pioneering work being undertaken in Uganda,Algeria and Egypt. During the Second World War , the Salvation Army operated 3000 service units for the armed forces, which led to the formation of the United Services Organisation (USO).