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The Second War Generation (1940-1950)

Harry Skitch's Portraits

Harry Skitch's Portraits

This portrait of Mrs. Ernie Gibbard and her children is one of
thousands done by Harry Skitch during the war years

Those individuals that remained on the Home Front in Lennox & Addington County had to deal with many difficulties including food and gasoline rationing, and the uneasiness of not knowing the whereabouts of loved ones overseas. Both men and women knitted socks, sweaters and blankets to be sent overseas, and helped out on the farm to ensure crops were seeded and harvested. Industry turned to manufacturing all sorts of items 'For the War', and many women were hired to work in the factories around the County to assist in this effort. Throughout all of this, families tried to maintain a sense of normalcy in their lives. One of the ways they did this was to have portraits made of happy family moments, weddings, baby christenings and family portraits with dad in uniform. DISCOVER MOREReadmore Arrow

During the years of the Second World War (1939-1945), Harry Skitch was the main portrait photographer in Napanee. He had located to Napanee in 1925 after the death of Napanee Photographer, F.S. Richardson. The Skitch family had emigrated from Bude, Cornwall, England in 1893. Harry's older brother, John Frederick Skitch, had established a photographic studio in Cobourg in about 1910.

Portraits were of more interest to Harry Skitch then other forms of photography. It proved a good time to specialize in portraits since the Canadian Government had begun issuing the booklet type of passport in 1921. A photograph of the bearer was needed. Photographs were also required for other forms of identification including railway passes.

Families, servicemen and servicewomen, married couples, older people and babies were just some of the many sitters for Skitch. There was a great demand for portraits of children to be sent to their father serving overseas. A characteristic pose for Skitch portraits of children has the child sitting with one leg curled under them. Children are also often seen holding a ball. Skitch preferred to take full-figure images. Many of his sitters are wearing casual clothes and seem to be posed informally. His wedding photographs often use a painted backdrop and usually the wedding party was arranged in a formal row. Pets were also the subject of several Skitch photographs.

His portraits preserve a remarkable record of the Second War Generation in Lennox and Addington.

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