Between 1940 and 1943, a project was begun with the aim to record a 'vanishing Britain'. The project (which was commissioned by the Ministry of Labour and National Service)also kept artists in employ and the resulting exhibitions acted as morale boosting propaganda as it toured the country. Sir Kenneth Clark began the scheme, which was inspired by the Federal Art project run in the States after the Great Depression. He forsaw big changes, not just with the War, but as a result of suburban expansion, and new road building programmes and saw the need to record places which captured a 'National Identity" The collection (over 1500 works by 97 artists is now in the care of the V&A).
It's significant that photographs weren't used. Paintings and drawings are emotive and personal, demonstrating as they do the position, physically and conceptually, of the artist in that place. I wonder whether the artists were briefed to make 'idealised' visions of the country?
Barbara Jones (1943) The Euston Arch. The V&A collection