The British Power Boat Company

As an official war artist to the Admiralty during the Second World War, Eurich painted the war effort at home, epic maritime engagements, and stories of survival at sea. Although he did not witness action himself, he received confidential intelligence from the Ministry of Information. Living near Southampton, he was close to the centre of naval operations, studied the ships in harbour, and interviewed men involved in the conflict. Eurich’s war paintings were at once works of imagination and historical records: his distinctive vision of the sea merged with thoroughly researched depictions of the events.

Based at the Hythe Shipyard on Southampton Water, near where Eurich lived, the British Power Boat Company produced motorboats and gunboats during the Second World War. Eurich typically filled his paintings with narrative details.
The boatyard and launch house are depicted with a sense of hustle and bustle, and are surrounded by a landscape of hills and fields and the harbour in the foreground. There is a slipway and a seaplane on the far left. In front of the boat-yard is an air-raid shelter protected by barbed wire and two sentries. All the buildings are painted in camouflage colours, the patterns of which merge with the landscape and patchwork of fields beyond. Sailors are occupied on the launches in the foreground and to the right others are disembarking from a rowing boat. The hull of the boat on the right bears the number '140', which identifies it as a 63-foot whaleback high-speed launch of the Royal Air Force. On the launch in the centre foreground two men have been working in the water, and a sailor nearby holds a boat hook. On the launch on the far left a sailor attends to the guns and several others work on the cockpit. The two boats on the left are 70-foot motor anti-submarine boats, some of which served as motor gunboats. Eurich also painted a companion piece, A Motor Boat of the British Power Boat Company, 1941, see BHC1568.

Object Details

ID: BHC1570
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Display - QH
Creator: Eurich, Richard Ernst
Date made: 1941
Exhibition: War Artists at Sea
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Presented by the War Artists Advisory Committee 1947
Measurements: Painting: 762 mm x 1270 mm; Frame: 922 mm x 1430 mm x 76 mm

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