Revealing town’s hidden history

A work by Colin Moss, one of those featuring in the exhibition

A work by Colin Moss, one of those featuring in the exhibition

Camouflage and its links to Leamington is the subject of a new exhibition opening in the town this month.

Leamington Art Gallery & Museum will be hosting Concealment & Deception from Friday July 22 to Sunday October 16.

A section of the Civil Defence Camouflage Establishment was based in Leamington from 1939 to 1944. It employed a large number of distinguished artists and designers of the mid-20th century, including Robin Darwin, Stephen Bone, Christopher Ironside, Leon Underwood and Colin Moss.

The exhibition will provide an account of the complex tasks of aerial surveillance, design, testing and production of camouflage undertaken by the Establishment and the smaller naval camouflage unit that was also based in Leamington. It will also look at the importance of camouflage work for the artists and designers involved and how it expanded their understanding of materials and gave them experience in collaborative activities. The project aims to demonstrate the relationship between civil defence, design, propaganda and art during the Second World War.

Research for this project began in September 2014 by research curator Alice Swatton. Alice is particularly interested in gathering biographical details of those involved in the Camouflage Establishment, and the Artists International Association (AIA) including the Artists and Designer’s group based in Warwickshire. Artists including Dorothy Annan and Trevor Tennant worked on numerous public commissions in hotels, schools and canteens.

Anyone with further information or memories related to camouflage or to the murals painted in Leamington, or who has have appropriate objects, images or information that they are willing to lend to the exhibition, can call 742706.

A group of local residents, artists, and businesses are launching a Leamington Camouflage Festival to coincide with the exhibition.

They are looking for any interested people or organisations who would like to host or organise an event around the theme of camouflage in Leamington.

Pip Burley, director of arts education business Leamington Lamp, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local organisations to come together and celebrate a rich part of Leamington’s heritage, whilsehelping grow the creative talent of the town.”

Call 742700 for more details about the exhibition.