THE GRAND FLEET PREPARING TO SAIL TO MEET THE SURRENDERED HIGH SEAS FLEET: ROSYTH, 20TH NOV 1918
(MP145). Barclay Henry (1869-1946).. Oil on canvas. Monogram "BH". Not dated..
Limited Edition: 12 copies worldwide
Standard size: 18 x 8 ins (45.7 x 20 cms approx) but available in sizes as required.
Available on canvas (£160-185 standard size); or card (mounted/matted) (£100-120 standard size)
By kind permission of David G Stevens Esq MA
This magnificent painting of Rosyth and the Firth of Forth on the afternoon of Wednesday 20th November 1918 depicts a truly historic day: heavy ships and flotillas of the Grand Fleet preparing to sail to meet on the morrow the surrendering High Seas Fleet. With the Grand Fleet as it prepared for this momentous occasion were HM King George V, Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales. We are told that the morning of 20th November dawned clear and fine and the royal party, embarked in HMS OAK at 1100 am and preceded by HMS VERDUN, steamed majestically through the fleet, the Royal Standard at OAK’s main and every ship they passed manned by cheering sailors. Later the King and Prince of Wales went aboard USS NEW YORK, the flagship of the American 6th Battle Squadron (Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman USN), before similarly honouring HMS LION and HMS REVENGE. They and the Queen had already lunched aboard Admiral Sir David Beatty’s flagship, HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, and the Queen was to have a cup of tea in HMS REVENGE before the Royal party left the Fleet and, crossing the Forth by train, paid a short official visit to Edinburgh. Even as they were boarding the train again for the overnight return to London, the Grand Fleet - here in the Firth of Forth and elsewhere - was making last minute preparations before sailing. Shortly after midnight HMS CARDIFF wearing the flag of Rear Admiral Alexander-Sinclair stole quietly out of the Forth to meet the German battle fleet and lead it to a pre-arranged rendezvous with the Grand Fleet and shortly afterwards the ships shown here in the painting shortened in, weighed and put to sea also. When fully formed up for that momentous rendezvous the Grand Fleet numbered some 370 ships formed into 13 squadrons of capital ships and cruisers and all escorted by numerous flotillas of destroyers. Ships apparent in this painting include HMS RAMILLIES, HMS AGINCOURT, HMS SUTLEJ, HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, HMS KING GEORGE V, HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN, HMS THUNDERER, HMS REVENGE and HMS CANADA.
Barclay Henry was a painter of landscape and coastal scenes. Living in Arrochar by Loch Lomond, Scotland and then further west on the coast where it looks out towards the Hebrides - at Fascadale on the Ardnamurchan peninsular - he was ideally placed to hone these skills in these wild and beautiful places. His first piece of work to be exhibited was in 1891 and The Flowing Tide’ was shown at the Royal Academy in 1899. He also exhibited extensively at the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts. Copyright of this painting is being negotiated (May 2008) with the relevant authorities.