Rutherford was born in Chelmsford and became an official war artist during the Second World War recording her work as part of the Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment.

She performed a variety of jobs: driving a mobile canteen round gun batteries on the east coast and working as a nurse in hospitals and convalescent homes for servicemen. 'It was an exhausting struggle trying to be a good artist and a good nurse', she remembered. 'In the end , I gave up being a good nurse'. This work depicts two evacuee children and was recently discovered in folios unopened since end of World War Two.

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