HMS KING GEORGE V AND THE 3RD BATTLE SQUADRON ATLANTIC FLEET
(MP105). Alma Claude Burlton Cull (1880-1931). Watercolour signed and dated 1919.
Limited Edition worldwide: 25 copies. See also MP289 (landscape version)
(10 x 16 ins (25.4 x 35.4 cms) approx for this portrait shaped enlargement version
Price band: £125- £145
Dating the scene depicted is not easy but the painting is signed 1919 and there is no reason to believe that this was not a contemporary watercolour made by Cull on one of his many days at sea as a guest of the Royal Navy. HMS KING GEORGE V (Captain Arthur Davies RN) wearing the flag of Vice Admiral Sir Henry Oliver KCB KCMG MVO, was flagship of the 3rd BS Home Fleet, a squadron of mixed classes. Apart from the flagship and HMS ERIN (Captain H W Richmond ADC RN) originally destined for the Turkish navy but commandeered by the RN in 1914, the remainder of the squadron was composed of Orion Class ships: HMS ORION (Captain R A Hornell RN) flagship of Rear Admiral Sir Douglas Nicholson KCMG KCVO, HMS CONQUEROR (Captain J R Segrave RN), HMS MONARCH (Captain G B Powell CMG RN) and HMS THUNDERER (Captain F A Powlett CBE RN). Later in 1919 and following the re-organisation of the Grand Fleet/Atlantic Fleet, the battle squadrons re-formed and KING GEORGE V rejoined her surviving sisters (HMS AUDACIOUS had been sunk by mine in 1914) and still as flagship, led them to the Mediterranean where they were based in the Med Fleet headquarters, Malta, spending periods in and around the Black Sea and the Crimean Peninsular as well as in the wider Mediterranean. In 1924 they came home to pay off, QUEEN ELIZABETH relieving KING GEORGE V as flagship.
Cull, we know from other paintings of his, was completely at home with this kind of watercolour: powerful ships, an admiral's flag or two, tons of smoke rolling out of funnels and all set amongst superbly painted seas and skies and clouds.