Montague Dawson, British (1895-1973)
British Submarine H.M.S. SEALION Rescues a P-51 Mustang Pilot , 1944
Oil on masonite
14 1/2 x 21 3/4 inches
Royal Navy S-class submarine, H.M.S. SEALION (72S), braves artillery fire to surface and rescue the pilot of a downed R.A.F. P-51 Mustang fighter.
H.M.S. SEALION was launched on 16th March 1934, though her career was most eventful after the outbreak of the war. Under the command of Lt. Commander (later Rear Admiral) Benjamin Bryant, SEALION is known to have engaged and damaged or sunk several German U-Boats and many Axis supply ships. SEALION was also one of a number of submarines ordered to track the German battleship BISMARCK before her eventual sinking.
Though U.S. built, the P-51 Mustang aircraft were originally designed for Britain’s Royal Air Force, and to their specifications. Mustangs were superior to the RAF’s more common Spitfire fighters- faster by about 30 mph with more than double the range. First flown as tactical-reconnaissance aircraft and fighter-bombers, the Mustang’s reliability and range led to their later being used as bomber escorts on raids over Germany. More on this painting
Montague Dawson RMSA, FRSA (1890–1973) was a British painter who was renowned as a maritime artist. His most famous paintings depict sailing ships, usually clippers or warships of the 18th and 19th centuries. Montague was the son of a keen yachtsman and the grandson of the marine painter Henry Dawson (1811–1878), born in Chiswick, London. Much of his childhood was spent on Southampton Water where he was able to indulge his interest in the study of ships. For a brief period around 1910 Dawson worked for a commercial art studio in Bedford Row, London, but with the outbreak of the First World War he joined the Royal Navy. Whilst serving with the Navy in Falmouth he met Charles Napier Hemy (1841–1917), who considerably influenced his work. In 1924 Dawson was the official artist for an Expedition to the South Seas by the steam yacht St.George. During the expedition he provided illustrated reports to the Graphic magazine.
After the War, Dawson established himself as a professional marine artist, concentrating on historical subjects and portraits of deep-water sailing ships. During the Second World War, he was employed as a war artist. Dawson exhibited regularly at the Royal Society of Marine Artists, of which he became a member, from 1946 to 1964, and occasionally at the Royal Academy between 1917 and 1936. By the 1930s he was considered one of the greatest living marine artists, whose patrons included two American Presidents, Dwight D Eisenhower and Lyndon B Johnson, as well as the British Royal Family. Also in the 1930s, he moved to Milford-Upon-Sea in Hampshire, living there for many years. Dawson is noted for the strict accuracy in the nautical detail of his paintings which often sell for six figures.
The work of Montague Dawson is represented in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth. More on Montague Dawson
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