Taking in ballast

During the First World War, John Everett was at first unable to sketch outdoors due to wartime security regulations, but in the spring of 1918, the Ministry of Information asked him to depict London river scenes. Everett received a permit to draw, and that summer, spent every day at the docks. What attracted him most were the ships covered in ‘dazzle painting’. Dazzle was a type of camouflage developed by the artist Norman Wilkinson in 1917, in response to the heavy losses sustained by British merchant ships to German U-boat submarines. Everett’s dazzle pictures are among his most daring works for their sense of composition and modernity. They were first displayed at the Goupil Gallery in London in November 1918.

As a practical sailor, Everett’s work reflects the knowledge he gained from living on board a ship. He was also a fine draughtsman, and saw his subject in terms of rhythmic designs and carefully structured composition, as is evident here. This detailed drawing not only displays his interest for the powerful lines of modern ships, but also his understanding of harbour activities.

Object Details

ID: PAH6683
Type: Drawing
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Everett, (Herbert Barnard) John
Date made: 1918
Exhibition: War Artists at Sea
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Mount: 610 mm x 838 mm;Primary support: 436 mm x 573 mm

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