(MP151). Frank Watson Wood (1862-1953). Watercolour. Signed and dated (LR) 1919.
Limited Edition worldwide: 25 copies
Standard size: 29 x 10 ins (73.5 x 25.4 cms ) approx.
Price band (mounted/matted): £160-195
Built by Armstrong at Elswick, England from 1911-1915 to order for the Chilean Navy and originally named VALPARAISO, this ship was essentially a lengthened version of the Royal Navy’s Iron Duke class but with shorter focsle, extra space for main machinery, a greatly lengthened quarterdeck and extra turn of speed of some 2-3 knots. Having been renamed by the Chileans ALMIRANTE LATORRE, with the war only weeks old and by order of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Mr Winston Churchill, the ship was compulsorarily purchased from Chile by Great Britain in September 1914 whilst fitting out, and renamed again, this time HMS CANADA. Modified for RN service she joined the Grand Fleet in October 1915 and with her ten 14 inch and sixteen 6 inch guns was a welcome addition to Admiral Jellicoe’s dreadnought numbers.
This very typical Frank Wood watercolour accurately coveys her imposing appearance the shortened focsle, raised and enlarged funnels and apparent trim by the head - making her stand out from the crowd; the wonder is that this distinctive looking dreadnought bearing such a fine and proud name was not painted more by artists of the time. Pictures of her such as this are therefore always a delight to find and when this one appeared at auction it was quickly snapped up by Maritime Prints! HMS CANADA was in the Grand Fleet’s battle line at Jutland in 1916 and gave valuable and hard service throughout the Grand War. On cessation of hostilities in 1918 she started a refit in Devonport to return her for service in the Chilean navy and she sailed for Chile in 1919 named, once again, ALMIRANTE LATORRE (although her quarter name plates read only “LATORRE”). She returned to Devonport for a big refit in 1929-30 and remained in commission in the Chilean navy until early 1958 before being towed to Japan for breaking up. A long way from her birthplace and subsequent permanent home!