Friday, January 1, 2010

Henrietta Goodden on British Camouflage

Henrietta Goodden, Camouflage and Art: Design for Deception in World War 2. London: Unicorn Press, 2007. Hardcover, 120 illustrations, color and b&w. 192 pp. ISBN 987-0-906290-87-3.

The current heightened interest in camouflage can be at least partly attributed to Charles Darwin. In The Origin of Species, first published in 1859, he hypothesized that the evolution of species occurs not through divine intervention but by autonomous natural selection, and that the likelihood of survival is weighed in favor of those that are better fitted than others. By the turn of the century, the study of natural camouflage (known then as "protective coloration") had become a research playground for the confirmation (or refutation) of Darwin's theories. Knowing that, it is of additional interest to find (as this book documents) that one of the chief participants in wartime British camouflage was Robin Darwin (1910-1974), a painter and descendant of the famous naturalist. More