FLEET REVIEW 1935 THE ROYAL SALUTE THUNDERS OUT
(MP196). Frank Watson Wood (1862-1953). Watercolour heightened with white, signed and dated "Frank W Wood 1935" (LR) and inscribed "The Great Silver Jubilee Review 16th July 1935 the salute" (LL)..
Limited edition:12 copies worldwide.
25 x 12 ins (63 x 29.5cms) approx.
Price band (mounted): £125 - £140
Both the Home Fleet (Admiral the Earl of Cork & Orrery flying his flag in HMS NELSON) and the Mediterranean Fleet (Admiral Sir William Fisher in HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH) were present together with representative ships from all Foreign Stations.
Warships from abroad and merchant ships made up a grand total of 182 ships and all had started arriving here in the Solent and taking up their anchor berths from early morning on 12th July. Portsmouth Dockyard lies at the top of the painting to the right, Fort Gilkicker and beyond Stokes Bay, are at top left; the eastern end of the Isle of Wight is out of the painting at the bottom, and lower right is No Man’s Land Fort . Gliding their way out of Portsmouth past ramparts and walls packed with excited, cheering spectators we see THV PATRICIA (Captain A H Morrell, Deputy Master, Trinity House) leading the Royal Yacht VICTORIA & ALBERT (Rear Admiral D B N North CB CSI CMG CVO ADC, Rear Admiral Royal Yachts) with Court Flags. The Admiralty Yacht HMS ENCHANTRESS (Commander R F Jolly RN), tucked in astern of V&A, was originally laid down as the sloop HMS BITTERN but she was completed without two of her four 4.7 inch guns which gave space for accomodation for Admiralty Board members, Members of Parliament and other VIP whose duties required them to visit the fleets at home and abroad. The King is seen here passing between Southsea Castle and Spit Sand Fort and Frank Wood shows billows of smoke rolling away as the first Royal Salute is fired by warships present. The Royal Yacht will shortly turn to starboard to enter the review lines.
The paler grey livery of the Mediterranean Fleet marks out that fleet’s Review Lines and at the head (over to the right) looms the large bulk of the battleship HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH (Captain S St Leger Moore RN, Flag Captain to Admiral Sir William Fisher GCB CVO, Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean Fleet). Astern of the flagship lie the other Med Fleet “heavies”, HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN (Captain B H Ramsay MVO RN), HMS RAMILLIES (Captain R Leatham RN), HMS REVENGE (Captain L E Holland RN) flagship of the Flag Officer Commanding 1st Battle Squadron Mediterranean Fleet, Vice Admiral Sir Charles Forbes KCB DSO; and HMS RESOLUTION (Captain J H D Cunningham MVO RN). The decision to allow the battle squadron and the 1st Cruiser Squadron (Vice Admiral J K Im Thurn CB CMG CBE in HMS LONDON (Captain F H W Goolden RN) to leave the Mediterranean for the Review had not been taken lightly: the Abyssinian Crisis was uppermost in British politicians’ minds and Admiral Fisher and his ships were required to hasten back to their Station on conclusion of the formalities. One review line closer to the foreground contains the darker painted capital ships of the Home Fleet, Admiral the Earl of Cork & Orrery KCB flying his flag in HMS NELSON (Captain A U Willis DSO RN). Astern of her lie HMS RODNEY (Captain W N Custance RN), HMS BARHAM (Captain R J R Scott AM RN) wearing the flag of Rear Admiral 2nd Battle Squadron, Rear Admiral M K Horton CB DSO; and HMS VALIANT (Captain A H Taylor OBE RN). Also anchored in the review lines we see other well known and familiar shapes: HMAS AUSTRALIA (Captain F H A Forster MVO RN), HMS IRON DUKE (Captain F H G Walker RN), HMS HOOD (Captain F T B Tower OBE RN) flagship of Rear Admiral S R Bailey CB CBE DSO, Commanding Battle Cruiser Squadron; and HMS RENOWN (Captain H R Sawbridge OBE RN).
Frank Wood had been painting warships since the early 1900s, was present onboard QUEEN ELIZABETH at the Surrender ceremony of the German Fleet in 1918 and seems to have covered most of the fleet reviews and assemblies of the period 1900-1937! He was commissioned by King George VI to paint scenes of the review that came two years later the Coronation Review of King George VI in 1937 - and was chosen to accompany the King and Queen as Artist in Waiting for their State visit to Canada and USA in the summer of 1939. Prolific he may have been but he is very well regarded these days for the sense of atmosphere that he always managed to convey. This painting is an unmatched pair to MP137 and is of the same event as MP108 (both by Wood); MP051 (by Langmaid) and MP050 (Turner).