West Indian Waitresses

© the artist's estate. Image credit: Ben Uri Collection

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German-Jewish émigré Eva Frankfurther escaped to London with her family in 1939 on the eve of the Second World War. After graduating from St Martin's School of Art in 1951, she became disaffected with the London art scene and, for the next six years, earned her living working the evening shift as a counter-hand at Lyons Corner House, Piccadilly. There, among the ethnically diverse, largely immigrant population, who formed her friends and co-workers, she found her subject matter. Of particular note, are her studies of members of the new West Indian ‘Windrush’, Cypriot and Pakistani communities, whom she sketched and painted at work and at rest, with empathy and dignity. Lyons had originally been famous for its ‘Nippy’ waitresses, who rushed between tables, but in this era, changed to a self-service style cafeteria, where counter staff portioned out standardised food from open bains-marie.

Ben Uri Gallery & Museum



West Indian Waitresses




oil on paper


H 76 x W 55 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

presented by the artist’s sister, Beate Planskoy, 2015

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Ben Uri Gallery & Museum

108a Boundary Road, St John's Wood, London, Greater London NW8 0RH England

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