(MP046). Frank Watson Wood (1862-1953). Watercolour signed and dated 27 May 1937..

HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH in Portsmouth following the 19

Limited Edition: 200

Standard size: 26 x 9.5ins (65 x 25cms) approx.

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The painting, dated exactly a week after the Review shows QUEEN ELIZABETH preparing to enter dry dock for her reconstruction. Ahead of her lies HOOD and lying ahead of her is ROYAL OAK. The painting was commissioned by HM The King and carries a highly polished brass plate on the frame. Presented to the wardroom officers of HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH by King George VI on conclusion of the Coronation Naval Review May 1937. Frank Wood was present aboard HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH (Flagship of Admiral Sir David Beatty) at the Surrender of the High Seas Fleet in November 1918.

King George VI's Coronation Review of the Fleet on 20 May 1937 had been a spectacular event attended by 140 warships from Britain and the Dominions and some 18 foreign men of war. Units of the Mediterranean Fleet - Admiral Sir Dudley Pound KCB wearing his flag in HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH (Captain E L S King MVO RN) - had arrived from Gibraltar the day after the Coronation, entering the West Solent through the Needles Channel in thick fog which persisted as the Mediterranean Fleet ships cautiously picked their way to their anchor berths at Spithead...

The painting here is dated 27 May, a week after the Review. QUEEN ELIZABETH, now a private ship and wearing her paying off pennant, is preparing to enter dry dock for her reconstruction. We can be sure the painting would have remained in QUEEN ELIZABETH for the rest of her service, which included four very busy war years in the Mediterranean and Eastern Fleets before she returned to home waters in July 1945: she was towed to the breakers in 1948.

It has been hanging in HMS SULTAN, the training establishment at Gosport, Hants, since 1958. Appropriately enough for a picture of one of Jackie Fisher's dreadnoughts it hangs in the approaches to the wardroom of the Admiralty Interview Board, an organisation first set up in September 1903 by Fisher when he was Second Sea Lord. Frank Wood, together with John Lavery, was present aboard HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH (Flagship of Admiral Sir David Beatty) at the Surrender of the German High Seas Fleet in November 1918 as an official Admiralty artist and was invited to accompany King George VI and Queen Elizabeth as Travelling Artist on their tour of Canada and the USA in 1939.