HMS REVENGE AT SCAPA FLOW, DECEMBER 1918
(MP211). Frank Watson Wood (1862-1953). Watercolour signed and dated 1918 and inscribed "HMS REVENGE" and "Scapa Flow December 1918"..
Limited Edition: 12 copies worldwide
13.75 x 5.75 inches (35.5 x 15 cms) approx.
Price band(mounted/matted): £110 -130 (Standard size)
HMS REVENGE (Captain George Ross CB RN) is painted here by Frank Watson Wood lying to a buoy in the Grand Fleet’s main war anchorage, Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. The painting is dated by Wood December 1918. Fluttering from the fore truck is the George Cross of Admiral Sir Charles Madden KCB KCMG CVO, then only a substantive vice admiral but carrying the acting rank of full admiral. The German High Seas Fleet had surrendered out in the North Sea east of Rosyth to ships of the Grand Fleet only a few weeks previously and had then been incarcerated up in Scapa under the watchful eye of the Royal Navy. Although an uneasy peace had returned to HM Ships on home stations over that Christmas period it is noticeable that even a Grand Fleet flagship, where attention to ceremonial detail would have been paramount, is still in wartime ceremonial routine and despite being at a buoy is not flying a jack at the bows or white ensign from the stern: the latter is on the main gaff, the “seagoing” position.
REVENGE was the first of the class to be completed in early 1916, the others, RAMILLIES, RESOLUTION, ROYAL OAK and ROYAL SOVEREIGN following on over the ensuing twelve months. She had been Vice Admiral Burney’s flagship at Jutland in May 1916 and from November of that year, when Beatty relieved Jellicoe as C-in-C Grand Fleet and the flagship plot changed, she flew the flag of the second in command, Admiral Madden. When Beatty hauled down his flag in early 1919 Sir Charles was confirmed in the rank of full admiral and appointed C-in-C (of the now renamed Atlantic Fleet) in his place and subsequently shifted his flag to Beatty’s old flagship, QUEEN ELIZABETH. HMS REVENGE went on to give sterling service throughout a second world war and was finally sold for scrap in 1949 after a seagoing career of over thirty years. Frank Watson Wood, the artist of this watercolour, was to outlive her by 4 years!