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Drawing - Woodman's Shop Window
  • Woodman's Shop Window
    Brandt, Rolf, born 1906 - died 1986
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Woodman's Shop Window

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1945 (made)
    1945 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Brandt, Rolf, born 1906 - died 1986 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gouache on paper, on card support

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the artist's children

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case WD, shelf 215, box C

Although he trained as an actor, Rolf Brandt enjoyed drawing and making collages. In his native Germany he developed an interest in Dada and Surrealism and in Bauhaus artists such as Paul Klee. He moved to London from Hamburg in the early 1930s with his brother Bill (1904–83), who became famous as a photographer.

This is one of nine illustrations that Brandt made for the children’s book The Story of a Tree by Stephen McFarlane. Charting the passage of a tree from forest to sawmill to carpenter’s workshop to shop, the images are a charming example of illustration for children at the end of the Second World War. Brandt’s interest in Surrealism is evident in some of the illustrations, especially the cover page, where the trees take on the forms of furniture and toys.

Here a small boy looks into a shop window filled with brightly painted wooden toys. The sepia tones used to paint the two conversing figures seen through the doorway on the right suggest one remove from reality.

Physical description

Gouache painting on thick paper pasted to brown cardboard support which has residual glue marks etc. Image is of a shop front with the name Woodman & Son above the window. The latter is filled with brightly painted wooden objects for children: a rocking horse, a toy train engine, an easel, a chair and table, a ladder, a wardrobe. a little boy, back to viewer gazes into the window. To the right of the window a doorway through which can be viewed two men standing in profile facing each other in what looks like the interior of the shop, save that it is painted in sepia monochrome, in contrast to the colour of the window itself, and the objects are no longer toys but objets d'art, such as a portrait bust on a stand. Tissue paper and thin paper cover-sheet attached by sellotape to back.

Place of Origin

London (made)


ca. 1945 (made)
1945 (published)


Brandt, Rolf, born 1906 - died 1986 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Gouache on paper, on card support

Marks and inscriptions

'The Story Of A Tree / No 8 / R.A.Brandt.'
Inscribed in black ink on the back

'39 Belsize Pk Gdns NW3..'
Inscribed in purple crayon below the title, number and artist's name

'The story of a tree 2.8'
Inscribed in pencil just below the address


Height: 36.7 cm, Width: 43.2 cm

Descriptive line

Gouache drawing: illustration no 8 from a set of 9 for 'The Story of A Tree' by Stephen McFarlane

Production Note

This is the design for the eighth illustration for the children's book 'The Story Of A Tree' by Stephen McFarlane (the first is for the cover). The eight other designs for illustrations are also in the collection. At the time of acquisition the drawings were in a wrapper labelled with a list of titles of the individual drawings. It is not clear if these were assigned by the artist, publisher or artist's family.


Paper; Card; Gouache



Subjects depicted

Shops; Trees


Children & Childhood; Drawings; Illustration; Paintings

Production Type



Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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