But these are all English views of England. The English coast comes with a fresh lick of paint in an affectionate new portfolio of photographs by Sheila Rock. An American who settled in Britain 40 years ago, Rock seems still to view her adoptive countrymen through anthropological eyes. And for her, the sea is a kind of magic carpet which transports them back to a magical monochrome yesteryear, a space where the English can get on with the business of being English without the trammelling distractions of digitised modernity. Here is innocence. Here is an absence of affectation and grandiloquence. Here above all is memory—of an era before bucket-shop package holidays, of Victorian leisure, in one striking instance of our early medieval visitors. Rock calls it “a forgotten England”.
Pictured: Sheila Rock found these twins in bright blue caps in a play pond on Canvey Island. "They were so extraordinary-looking. I actually tracked them like a hunter, I have to say. I didn't ask them to do anything or pull faces. The father was quite trendy, the hats are pulled on in an almost trendy way..."