HAHG Lecture: Recording Britain: Celebrating the Country’s Natural Beauty

The art and design historian, Dr Graham Twemlow, gave a talk to the Henley Archaeological and Historical Group on 3 March on Recording Britain: celebrating the Country’s natural Beauty and architectural heritage.

The Recording Britain project was undertaken at the outbreak of World War II, with the intention of capturing in the tradition of 18th century watercolour the character of Britain’s landscape when threatened by possible destruction.  It was funded by an American charity and coordinated by Sir Kenneth Clark, then director of the National Gallery. A total of 63 artists were engaged to produce works for exhibition in the Gallery while much of its collection had been evacuated for safe keeping.

Besides famous names, such as John Piper, the artists commissioned included lesser-known painters such as Stanley Anderson of Towersey, a copperplate engraver who specialised in the representation of crafts. More local names include Harold Hussey, whose work featured Hurley, and Wilfred Fairclough, who produced images of Henley. Many of these pictures were reproduced in a book published after the War and all are now housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The Group’s next meeting will be on Tuesday, 7 April when Dr Ed Peveler of the Chiltern Hill Forts Project will talk about the use of LiDAR to reveal archaeological features.