The biographer of a late Sutton artist, whose wartime paintings are currently on show at RAF Hendon, fears borough residents may be denied the chance to see her work.

Elva Blacker's paintings will be on show at the RAF Museum in Hendon until the end of the month but Beryl Williams fears if the whole exhibition cannot be moved to the borough immediately, Sutton will miss out.

She said: "Once this exhibition ends, the works are to be returned to their owners and it would then be quite difficult to ever mount it again.

"If it doesn't go to Sutton, it will go back to the archives and packed away."

Sutton Council's heritage section has agreed in principle to put the paintings up at either Whitehall in Cheam or Honeywood in Carshalton but their galleries are booked up for the foreseeable future.

Heritage officer Valerie Murphy said: "I'm trying to identify a time when they can be on display at either Honeywood or Whitehall.

"We will probably be exhibiting one of the Elva Blackers in our exhibition on drawing techniques at Whitehall."

She suggested it would not be too difficult to reassemble her works after they had been returned to their owners.

Miss Blacker's paintings from during her service with the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) were first exhibited at RAF Cosford last year, before being moved to RAF Hendon.

A number are owned by the RAF, while the rest belong to her nephew General Sir Jeremy Blacker, with one under the council's ownership.

Miss Blacker was born in Carshalton in 1908 and lived at Egmont Corner in Brighton Road, Sutton, until her death on April 10, 1984.

She took over the running of her father's photography studio on Sutton High Street, on his death around 1930, and later studied painting at Sutton and Cheam School of Arts and Crafts (later to become SCOLA).

She joined the WAAF as a driver in 1942 and produced a number of wartime paintings.

Mrs Williams' interest in the artist was sparked after she took over as editor of the WAAF magazine.

She said: "I was sent one of her works by the museum at Biggin Hill and I found some of the ladies who had worked with her at WAAF."

July 31, 2002 09:00