Recording Britain was an artistic documentary project compiled as the country was facing the potentially devastating impact of the Second World War. The resulting collection of more than 1500 watercolours and drawings, by artists such as John Piper, Michael Rothenstein, Barbara Jones and Stanley Badmin, is a rich visual record of buildings, landscapes and livelihoods under threat.
Recording Britain brings together highlights from this extraordinary collection. The vivid images of national and regional identity often portray an idealized account of the country its audience was fighting for. The pictures are also discussed in relation to contemporary British artists and photographers such as John Virtue, Conrad Atkinson, Richard Long and Laura Oldfield Ford, whose work also reflects on a sense of place.
Gill Saunders is a Senior Curator in the Word & Image Department at the V&A. She has written extensively on twentieth century and contemporary art.