Sir William Rothenstein
, British, 1872 - 1945
Material and Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions: Overall: 886 x 1093 x 73mm
Sight size: 692 x 900mm
Department: Visual Art
Accession Number: VIS.2303
Buffer girls worked in the metalwork industry. They were responsible for buffing cutlery and other metal goods to give them a smooth surface. It was hard and extremely dirty work so neckerchiefs and headscarves were worn to try and keep the women clean.
This painting shows the teenage girls, Maggie Herrick (later Mrs Athorne) on the right and Jane Gill (later Mrs Hallam) on the left. They were paid five shillings for each half day sitting for the portrait, a week's pay as a buffer girl at the time.