Artists sketching the countryside during the First World War were often accused of spying for Germany and arrested, according to the top art historian Dr James Fox, University of Cambridge.
There was a great deal of paranoia during the conflict and the general population were urged to report suspicious activity, and hundreds of artists were arrested during the conflict, most for little reason.
One artist came to police attention because he wore ‘a floppy hat’, another was forced to paint from behind a bush or face arrest. According to Dr James Fox, the draconian Defence of the Realm act which made the sketching of ports, harbours or military barracks a criminal offence, has left a stain of suspicion for generations.
» Source: www.dailymail.co.uk