The Wind Tunnel - Royal Aircraft Establishment Farnborough, 1944
Framed (ref: 5302)
Signed and dated 1944
Titled on the reverse and stamped with a Press Censorship Bureau pass
22 x 14 in. (56 x 35.5 cm)
Exhibited: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 62.
Literature: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 62, page 99.
This composition is closely related to one of Jones Recording Britain watercolours in the collection of the V&A.
There is no record of how Jones, still in her twenties, became involved in the Recording Britain Scheme but she was one of the first artist's to be commissioned and its most prolific contributor.
Recording Britain was the brainchild of Sir Kenneth Clark, who saw it as an extension of the Official War Artist scheme. By choosing watercolour painting as the medium of record, Clark hoped that the scheme would also help to preserve this characteristic English art form.
Recording Britain was intended to boost national morale by celebrating the country’s natural beauty and architectural heritage, but it was also a memorial to the war effort itself. The earliest pictures show the landscapes of southern England which were under immediate threat from bomb damage and invasion; in due course the remit was expanded to include those landscapes, buildings and ways of life that were vulnerable to the destructive forces of ‘progress’ – urban expansion, housing developments, road-building and so on.
The scheme employed several women, notably Barbara Jones and Enid Marx. Both were fascinated by English popular art – everything from fairgrounds and follies to topiary and inn signs – and both continued to record these 'unsophisticated arts' after the war.
Works for Recording Britain, which numbered over 1500 watercolours, were widely exhibited during the war years. In 1949 the Pilgrim Trust gave them to the V&A.
Barbara Jones (1912-1978)
Painter, designer, illustrator and author, born in Croydon, Surrey, she first studied art at her local art school under Isabel Wrightson, 1931-1933, before gaining a scholarship to RCA, 1933-1936, where she studied under Ravilious, Bawden and Charles Mahoney, in the mural painting school. She was a distinctive landscape painter and one of the strongest contributors to the World War II Pilgrim Trust Recording Britain project. She wrote and illustrated books on design history, on subjects including Grottoes and Follies, The Isle of Wight, and The Unsophisticated Arts. She also designed murals - for the Commonwealth Institute, London, and Cheshire County Police Headquarters - and was a member of the Society of Mural Painters. She was responsible for the Whitechapel Gallery exhibition Black Eyes and Lemonade in 1951. In the same year she was heavily involved in the Festival of Britain, designing murals and mosaic, and produced her seminal book The Unsophisticated Arts. She was married to the painter Cliff Barry, whom she met at the Royal College, but of whom little is known. He was however responsible for designing the cover of his wife's first book, The Isle of Wight. A retrospective exhibition was held at Katharine House Gallery, Marlborough, in 2000.
See all works by Barbara Jones