HMS TIGER, 1919
(MP189). Frank Watson Wood (1862-1953). Watercolour signed and dated 1920 but annotated in pencil verso "TIGER 19"..
Limited Edition: 12 copies worldwide
Standard size: 9 ¾ x 6 ½ ins (25 x 17 cms) approx.
Price band: £110 - £120
This beautiful battle cruiser who joined the Grand Fleet on 6th November 1914 having been rushed to completion by her builders on the Clyde, John Brown, was the last of the Royal Navy’s pre-war battle cruisers and was also regarded by those in the fleet as the best.
Captain Henry Pelly, her first captain, was under considerable pressure from the Commander-in-Chief to get his new ship shaken down and worked up as quickly as possible so that she could take her place in the line and its certainly true that TIGER had her fair share of mishaps during her first few rushed months at sea with the Grand Fleet. At the Battle of Dogger Bank she was hit heavily on B turret and the bridge structure and had 10 killed; and at Jutland she took 21 hits with 24 killed and 37 wounded but she was back in service and ready for sea again within a month of returning from the battle, proof of a solid ship stoutly built. With an overall length of some 700 feet and a full load displacement of 28, 500 tons she was coal and oil fired, her 39 boilers producing some 108,000 shaft horsepower which gave her an impressive speed of 29 knots when at full chat - and an appetite for coal of over 1,500 tons per 24 hours when steaming hard!
Although this charming little watercolour is dated on the front (lr) 1920, a pencil annotation on the back of the painting says “Sept 1919” which its reasonably safe to assume is the date of the depicted scene. She is commanded by Captain W D H Boyle CB RN and at the fore appears to flutter the flag of an admiral - which poses two interesting points! Her newly fitted mainmast is clearly shown here by Frank Wood (just forrard of the after funnel) but it was precisely because the top gallant on the foremast had to be removed to accommodate a rangefinder in its place that the mainmast was considered necessary in the first place: yet here she is shown with both foretop gallant and mainmast - and no rangefinder! Artist’s license, as is possibly that admiral’s flag as she never was a staffed flagship. When she finally paid off however, Rear Admiral Dudley Pound (Rear Admiral Commanding the Battle Cruiser Squadron (ACQ)), shifted his flag from RENOWN to TIGER as she entered Plymouth for the last time on 30 March 1931 to pay off for disposal, a gesture of respect to the veteran battle cruiser that we are told was deeply appreciated by the TIGERs. No matter Mr Wood’s imaginings, its a beautifully executed watercolour with great intensity of colour and wide tonal range!