A facsimile of the practical manual, discussing the necessity for camouflage. Originally published in 1941 and “Officially approved by the War Office.”
Their long-time obsession with mimicry and visual deception meant that the Surrealists were particularly well suited to camouflage work.
In 1941, Penrose became a gamechanger when The War Office published the Home Guard Manual of Camouflage. In its pages, Penrose showed how to accomplish seemingly impossible visual deceptions: While Penrose, a keen naturalist, drew on influences in the natural world, his Surrealist passion for mimicry is apparent throughout the book. Patterns, textures, shading: all these artistic devices now took on serious military currency.
Sir Roland Penrose CBE (14 October 1900 – 23 April 1984) was an English artist, historian and poet. He was a major promoter and collector of modern art and an associate of the key Surrealists in Europe. During the Second World War he put his artistic skills to practical use as a teacher of camouflage. He was Lecturer to the War Office School for Instructors to the Home Guard and also a Lecturer at the Osterley Park School for Training of the Home Guard.