In 1947 Piper was commissioned to write and illustrate a book on Romney Marsh for the Penguin series edited by Nikolaus Pevsner. Since his boyhood, when he first went on a cycling holiday, the Marsh had been one of his favourite parts of England. Although a rather desolate area, with no traditional beauty spots, it was an intensely Romantic place, full of atmosphere. For Piper, like Portland, it offered immense opportunities, 'the dark blots of the Martello Towers along the east marsh coast from Hythe away past Littlestone, the Military Canal, and the remains of 20th Century war activity - rusty wire in hedgerows, radar masts and an occasional crows next look out on the coast' (see R. Ingrams and J. Piper, Piper's Places, loc cit.).