The Committee contacted Piper in April 1940 about the possibility of employment. After a meeting, he was commissioned to do a series of ARP Control Room pictures, for 100 guineas.
By 22 May, Piper had requested to transfer from ARP subjects after completing two pictures in hand (IWM:ART LD 169-170). After discussion with Kenneth Clark, he asked to work instead on war transport subjects. The Committee approved this, but no war transport pictures were ever completed. In fact, Piper's interest turned to ruined churches.
The letter at (11) discusses Penguin Books's plan for a series of monographs on artists, for which the WAAC felt it could not specially commission further works.
In November 1940, Piper was given a further commission for pictures of ruined churches, for 50 guineas. His first picture of the bombed Coventry Cathedral was delivered later that month, by John Betjeman (17). (14) discusses a planned postcard of the Coventry image, to include two lines of verse by Anna Wickham, at the suggestion of the Director-General of the Ministry of Information, although it appears that he did not particularly have Piper's picture in mind, simply an image of Coventry.
Piper proposed to go to Bristol for his next pictures (17), and asked for suggestions of suitable sites in London. By January 1941, he had submitted LD 688 and LD 731-5. Piper mentioned that he had been working on a picture of St James's Church, Piccadilly, and another picture of Coventry in addition to the two already submitted, which he wished to reproduce in the magazine Horizon before it had been officially submitted to the committee.
There is protracted correspondence regarding the rate of Piper's expenses for hiring a car to take him to Bristol and to Coventry. However, this did not prevent him being granted another commission, in March 1941, for unspecified further pictures, for £50 (29). This letter mentions that Piper is about to be called up. A later annotation to the signed agreement records that, in September 1941, Piper delivered a further picture of the bombed House of Commons (LD 1398, later lost at sea) to meet this commission (32). (The acquisition of this picture is confirmed at (62). There is also a form (35) from the Ministry of Labour and National Service to confirm Piper's appointment, in relation to his calling up; this was an ongoing concern (44 et passim).
In July 1941, Anthony Chitty, of the Ministry of Aircraft Production, proposed to Piper that he should paint a picture of underground aircraft production (38). This commission was formalised in August 1941, at the sum of 25 guineas, but was never completed at (66-67) is a letter chasing the picture.
Piper's letter at (51) discusses his design for a poster for the exhibitions of war pictures at the National Gallery (qv), and how to adapt it for the Oxford University Press series of books War Pictures by British Artists'. The Committee's comments on the design are at (54).
In January 1942 Piper requested to reproduce some MoI photographs in an article he was writing for the British Council on the subject of bombed buildings. In April the same year, he was commissioned to do a series of drawings of bombed buildings in Bath, for 30 guineas. In May, he submitted a number of these drawings, from which three large ones were selected to meet the 30-guinea commission, and four smaller ones purchased for an additional 25 guineas (LD 1970-6) (72).
A further commission was made in November 1943, for 3 watercolours of "window blasting and other experiments" (78), for 25 guineas (IWM:ART LD 3859-3861). Notes around this time show that, in order to delay Piper's call up, the duration of these commissions had to be estimated, although they did not constitute a salaried appointment of fixed duration. Then, in June 1944, he was proposed for the vacant salaried position of artist to the Ministry for War Transport, and was appointed to begin in July, for five months with a salary of £270. (LD 4535-4543; LD 5157). In his letter at (87), Piper outlines his plans to travel along the South coast.
Post-war correspondence concerns enquiries about picture locations and reproductions; letters to Piper requesting details of pictures, including the location of the shelter experiments depicted in IWM:ART LD 3859-3861 (96), and the Penguin Modern Painters series.