Tag Archives: naval art

D-Day Plus Seven

Here we see what Normandy looked like a week after Overlord in combat artist and Combat Gallery Sunday alum Dwight Shepler‘s 1944 watercolor, “D-Day Plus Seven, Omaha Beach Head, Landing scene with the Landing Ship Tanks on the beach discharging their cargo.

Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C. Accession #: 88-199-EY

Official caption by the artist:

On Omaha beachhead the wreckage of assault has been thrust aside and reinforcements pour from LSTs which line up to spew forth their mobile cargo. It was not an uncommon sight to see thirty LSTs “dry out” and discharge their load on one ebb tide, and float away on the flood. The tide was 20 foot. With the sight repeated on Utah beach and the British beaches, the lift carried by various amphibious craft was enormous. The great offensive that broke out at St. Lo, swept through Avranches to ship off Brittany and swing for Paris, was mounted with men and material that came in over the beach.

As a footnote, classicly-trained Shepler learned his trade at Williams College and worked at the Boston Museum School of Fine Art prior to the war, then enlisted as an officer in the Navy Reserve in 1942 at age 37 to lend his brush to Uncle Sam. He took part not only in Normandy but in the landings at Ormoc Bay and Lingayen Gulf and operations at Corregidor and Bataan. In all, he produced more than 300 works for the military before returning to civilian life where he went back into teaching art and producing landscapes, sports scenes, and portraits. He passed in 1974.

His best-known work is perhaps The Battle for Fox Green Beach”, showing Warship Weds alum, Gleaves-class destroyer USS Emmons (DD-457) bombarding in support of the Omaha Beach landings.

“The Battle for Fox Green Beach,” watercolor by Dwight Shepler, showing the Gleaves class destroyer USS Emmons (DD 457) foreground and her sister ship, the USS Doyle, to the right, within a few hundred yards of the landing beach, mixing it up with German shore batteries on D-Day

 

Combat Gallery Sunday: The Martial Art of Dwight Shepler

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday: The Martial Art of Dwight Shepler

Dwight C. Shepler was born in Everett, Massachusetts, in 1905 and studied art at Williams College then became a member of the American Artists’ Group and the American Artists Professional League. When the war came, the 36-year-old bespectacled Shepler volunteered for the Navy and, in recognition of his skills and education, was assigned to the sea service’s Combat Art Section as an officer-artist.

As noted by the Navy, “he first traveled with a destroyer on Pacific convoy duty. From the mud of Guadalcanal, through the years of the Allied build-up in England, to the memorable D-Day on the French coast, he painted and recorded the Navy’s warfare.”

Artwork: “Gunners of the Armed Guard” Artist: Dwight C. Shepler #80 NARA

Artwork: “Liberator Fueling” Artist: Dwight C. Shepler #119 NARA

Field Day at Scapa Flow, a Northern British Base NARA DN-SC-83-05415

“Four Sisters of Londonderry” showing a four-pack of brand new U.S. Navy Benson-class destroyer destroyers including USS Madison (DD-425) USS Lansdale (DD-426) and USS Hilary P. Jones (DD-427) Artist: Dwight C. Shepler #97 – The U.S. National Archives (1983-01-01 & 1983-01-01)

Scapa Anchorage, in the collection of the National Archives, shows Shepler’s talents as a landscape artist. You almost don’t notice the Royal Navy battleships and cruiser force

The same can be said with this work, entitled St. Mawes Rendezvous, NARA DN-SC-83-05410

But then, there is war…

He observed the landings at Normandy in the ETO and Ormoc Bay and Lingayen Gulf and operations at Corregidor and Bataan in the PTO.

Opening the Attack Painting, Watercolor on Paper; by Dwight C. Shepler; 1944 D-Day D Day Arkansas French cruisers George Leygues and Montcalm. NHHC 88-199-ew

“The Battle for Fox Green Beach,” watercolor by Dwight Shepler, showing the Gleaves class destroyer USS Emmons(DD 457) foreground and her sistership, the USS Doyle, to the right, within a few hundred yards of the landing beach, mixing it up with German shore batteries on D-Day

Heavy propellers of a Rhine Ferry are swung aloft as Seabees complete the assembly of the pontoons which make up the strange craft at the invasion port somewhere in England. Drawn by Navy Combat Artist Lieutenant Dwight C. Shepler, USNR. Artwork received 12 June 1944. NHHC 80-G-45675

Task Force of Two Navies” Watercolor by Dwight Shepler, USNR, 1943, depicting U.S. and British warships in the Pentland Firth during an operation toward the Norwegian coast, coincident with the Sicily invasion, July 1943. Alabama (BB 60) is in the lead, followed by HMS Illustrious and HMS King George V. Three British carrier-based fighters (two “Seafires” and a “Martlet”) are overhead. Official USN photo # KN-20381, courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC, now in the collections of the National Archives.

“First Reconnaissance – Manila Harbor. Painting, Watercolor on Paper; by Dwight Shepler; 1945; Framed Dimensions 31H X 39W. Two PT’s prowled inside the breakwater entrance of Manila Harbor on February 23, 1945, first U.S. Naval vessels to enter in three years. Treading the mine-strewn waters of Manila Bay, PT’s 358 and 374 probed into the shoal harbor waters where countless enemy vessels sat on the bottom in mute testament of the severity of the fast carrier strikes of the fall of 1944. Manila smoked and exploded from the final fighting in Intramuros and the dock area.” (NHHC: 88-199-FY)

Minesweeper Before Corregidor Cleaning a pathway through the mines off Bataan peninsula, these hardy little minesweepers can work under severe Japanese coastal bombardment. Despite Army air cover overhead, the enemy shore guns sank the motor minesweeper YMS-48 and damaged the destroyers, Fletcher and Hopewell. On the following day, a naval task group landed Army troops on the peninsula and a short time thereafter resistance ceased on Corregidor and Bataan.Painting, Watercolor on Paper; by Dwight C. Shepler; 1945; Framed Dimensions 30H X 39W Accession #: 88-199-GK

Preparations For Getting Underway DN-SC-83-05402

He also did a number of historic scenes for the branch.

Watercolor painting by Dwight Shepler of the USS South Dakota in action with Japanese planes during the Battle of Santa Cruz which took place October 11-26, 1942.

This image was used in a number of adverts during the War.

The Spider and the Fly — USS Hornet CIC at Midway. During World War II, battles were won by the side that was first to spot enemy airplanes, ships, or submarines. To give the Allies an edge, British and American scientists developed radar technology to “see” for hundreds of miles, even at night.Painting, Oil on Canvas; by Dwight Shepler; 1945; Framed Dimensions 28H X 40W Accession #: 88-199-GN

Japanese dive bomber swoops down in a kamikaze attack on USS Hornet (CVA 12) and is disintegrated by the ships anti-aircraft fire before it can hit the carrier. This is a copy of a watercolor painted by Lieutenant Dwight C. Shepler, USNR, Navy Combat Artist, from memory of an actual combat experience. Photographed released August 10, 1945. U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. 80-G-700121

On 5 September 1813, the schooner Enterprise, commanded by Lieutenant William Burrows, captured the brig HMS Boxer off Portland, Maine in a twenty-minute action that saw both commanding officers die in battle. Enterprise’s second in command, Lieutenant Edward R. McCall then took Boxer to Portland, Maine. USS Enterprise versus HMS Boxer in action off the coast of Maine. Artist, Dwight Shepler. Enterprise was commanded by Lt William Burrows. Unfortunately, NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 47013-KN

For his service as a Combat Artist, the Navy awarded Shepler the Bronze Star. He left the branch in 1946 as a full Commander, USNR, having produced more than 300 paintings and drawings.

U.S. Navy artists, (left to right), Lieutenant William F. Draper, Lieutenant Dwight C. Shepler, and Lieutenant Mitchell Jamieson, conferring with Lieutenant Commander Parsons in the Navy Office of Public Relations, Washington, D.C., November 20, 1944. NHHC 80-G-47096

After the war, he continued his career as a pioneer watercolorist of the high ski country and later served as president of the Guild of Boston Artists.

Dwight Shepler, Mount Lafayette, and Cannon Mountain, N. H., n.d., watercolor, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Ford Motor Company, 1966.36.179

He died at age 69 in Weston, Mass. His works are on wide display from the Smithsonian to the Truman Library and various points in between. His oral history is in the National Archives.

Thank you for your work, sir.

Combat Gallery Sunday : The Martial Art of Geoffrey Stephen Allfree

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday : The Martial Art of Geoffrey Stephen Allfree

Born 11 Feb 1889 in Kent, England, to the Rev Francis Allfree– the vicar of the Parish of St Nicholas-at-Wade and Sarre, young Geoffrey Stephen Allfree embarked on a career as a merchant mariner until 1911 when he took up painting.

He volunteered to take the King’s Schilling at the outbreak of war in 1914 as a Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Navy Reserve and served several years in motor launches. By 1918, he was named a war artist and covered a number of maritime subjects of the Great War.

The Wake of a P-boat. A view from the stern of a patrol boat of the waves and spray created by the boat as it moves across the surface of the water. Another vessel is visible in the patrol boat's wake..IWM ART 563

The Wake of a P-boat. A view from the stern of a patrol boat of the waves and spray created by the boat as it moves across the surface of the water. Another vessel is visible in the patrol boat’s wake..IWM ART 563

A Monitor's Turret. A detailed side-on view of the two-gun turret of a Monitor, with part of the ship's superstructure visible behind the turrent to the left. A portion of the deck is visible, with a sailor standing on it in the right foreground. The silhouettes of buildings are visible in the background, showing that the Monitor is moored in a dock. IWM 564

A Monitor’s Turret. A detailed side-on view of the two-gun turret of a Monitor, with part of the ship’s superstructure visible behind the turrent to the left. A portion of the deck is visible, with a sailor standing on it in the right foreground. The silhouettes of buildings are visible in the background, showing that the Monitor is moored in a dock. IWM 564

Submarines In Dry Dock. a view of two Royal Navy submarines being refitted in a dry dock. The foremost submarine is shown from the bow, whilst the second, to the left, is shown from the stern. Both are supported by scaffolding and struts. Men work on the deck and hull of the foremost submarine, with a few men also standing on the floor of the dry dock. IWM 777

Submarines In Dry Dock. a view of two Royal Navy submarines being refitted in a dry dock. The foremost submarine is shown from the bow, whilst the second, to the left, is shown from the stern. Both are supported by scaffolding and struts. Men work on the deck and hull of the foremost submarine, with a few men also standing on the floor of the dry dock. IWM 777

HMS Revenge in Dry Dock, Portsmouth, 1918. A view of the looming bow of the Royal Navy battleship HMS Revenge whilst undergoing maintenance in dry dock at Portsmouth. The huge ship is tethered to the dockside and supported against the side of the dock with large struts. The lower half of the hull, usually below the water level, is a rusty orange colour. Only the tallest part of the ship's superstructure is visible at the top of the composition. The lead ship of her class of 5 30,000-ton modern battleships, Revenge was commissioned in 1916, just before the Battle of Jutland and survived both World Wars, going to the breakers in 1948. IWM 765

HMS Revenge in Dry Dock, Portsmouth, 1918. A view of the looming bow of the Royal Navy battleship HMS Revenge whilst undergoing maintenance in dry dock at Portsmouth. The huge ship is tethered to the dockside and supported against the side of the dock with large struts. The lower half of the hull, usually below the water level, is a rusty orange color. Only the tallest part of the ship’s superstructure is visible at the top of the composition. The lead ship of her class of 5 30,000-ton modern battleships, Revenge was commissioned in 1916, just before the Battle of Jutland and survived both World Wars, going to the breakers in 1948. IWM 765

HMS Revenge In Dry Dock At Night, Portsmouth The Work was Continued through the Night by the Aid of Huge Flares. IWM 761

HMS Revenge In Dry Dock At Night, Portsmouth The Work was Continued through the Night by the Aid of Huge Flares. IWM 761

A Monitor. A front-on view of a large Monitor at sea, with its two-gun turret facing towards the bow. Parts of the ship's superstructure are painted in a chequered pattern. A number of sailors are visible standing on deck and there is a stationary gun platform visible in the background to the left. IWM 568

A Monitor. A front-on view of a large Monitor at sea, with its two-gun turret facing towards the bow. Parts of the ship’s superstructure are painted in a chequered pattern. A number of sailors are visible standing on deck and there is a stationary gun platform visible in the background to the left. IWM 568

Dazzled Tramp In Portsmouth Harbour. a view of the starboard side of a dazzle camouflaged Merchant Navy transport ship, which is moored in Portsmouth harbour. IWM 793

Dazzled Tramp In Portsmouth Harbour. a view of the starboard side of a dazzle camouflaged Merchant Navy transport ship, which is moored in Portsmouth harbour. IWM 793

A Torpedoed Tramp Steamer off the Longships, Cornwall, 1918. A tramp-steamer in dazzle camouflage keeled over to port and grounded on a cliff-lined Cornish beach. A heavy sea flecked with foam washes over the wreck, while a stormy sky passes overhead. Shafts of sunlight illuminate the sea and cliffs with an unearthly glow. The remains of an earlier wreck can be seen stranded on the point in the upper left. IWM 2237.

A Torpedoed Tramp Steamer off the Longships, Cornwall, 1918. A tramp-steamer in dazzle camouflage keeled over to port and grounded on a cliff-lined Cornish beach. A heavy sea flecked with foam washes over the wreck, while a stormy sky passes overhead. Shafts of sunlight illuminate the sea and cliffs with an unearthly glow. The remains of an earlier wreck can be seen stranded on the point in the upper left. IWM 2237.

HMS Iron Duke. The ship is starboard side on, steaming from left to right with a smaller ship in front of the battleship's bow. The lead ship of her 29,000-ton class, Iron Duke was commissioned into the Home Fleet in March 1914 as the fleet flagship, fought at Jutland, and made it through WWII to be broken in 1946. IWM149.

HMS Iron Duke. The ship is starboard side on, steaming from left to right with a smaller ship in front of the battleship’s bow. The lead ship of her 29,000-ton class, Iron Duke was commissioned into the Home Fleet in March 1914 as the fleet flagship, fought at Jutland, and made it through WWII to be broken in 1946. IWM149.

A Dazzled Oiler, With Escort. A large dazzle-painted oiler at sea being escorted by a smaller vessel, with the white chalk cliffs of the coastline visible in the background. IWM 567.

A Dazzled Oiler, With Escort. A large dazzle-painted oiler at sea being escorted by a smaller vessel, with the white chalk cliffs of the coastline visible in the background. IWM 567.

Motor Launches Engaging a Submarine. A motor launch at full steam, moving from right to left, with her bow lifting out of the water. Two figures on the deck are manning a light gun. Another motor launch is visible just behind. Both are moving quickly towards a German submarine that has surfaced, in the background to the left. The artist served in motor launched throughout the war, even while in work as a war artist, so this image was real life for him. IWM 148

Motor Launches Engaging a Submarine. A motor launch at full steam, moving from right to left, with her bow lifting out of the water. Two figures on the deck are manning a light gun. Another motor launch is visible just behind. Both are moving quickly towards a German submarine that has surfaced, in the background to the left. The artist served in motor launched throughout the war, even while in work as a war artist, so this image was real life for him. IWM 148

His work included very popular if stark memorial art to the loss of the cruiser HMS Hampshire

Speaking of loss, the artist was killed at age 29 during the war when on 29 Sept 1918– just six weeks before the Armistice– his craft, HM Motor Launch No. 247, was lost at sea.

From the IWM:

A four boat flotilla of Motor Launches had entered St Ives Bay for shelter during a strong southerly gale, which rapidly escalated to hurricane force winds. In the eye of the storm,the Motor Launches started engines and tried desperately to work their way into deeper water. Allfree’s launch developed engine trouble, one mile off Clodgy Point and started to drift helplessly towards Oar Rock. The St. Ives’ lifeboat raced to reach the stricken ship, but arrived minutes too late by which time the launch had blown up on impact with the rock, presumably as its depth charges detonated. There was only one survivor.

He is commemorated on a brass tablet in St Nicholas’ church as well as on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

A number of his pieces are in the National Collection in the UK and displayed at various public locations while the Imperial War Museum has some 53 on file and keeps a detail of his own biography as part of their Lives of the First World War series.

Thank you for your work, sir.

Combat Gallery Sunday: The martial art of Charles Pears, RI, ROI, RSMA

Charles Pears working on an oil painting of 'R.M.S. Orcades'

Charles Pears working on an oil painting of ‘R.M.S. Orcades’

Born in the quiet market town of Pontefract, Yorkshire was an Englishman by the name of Charles Pears on 9 Sept. 1873. A professional illustrator from the time he was 17, Charles did his duty in the Royal Marines as an officer in World War I, although in his 40s at the time. He also served as an official war artist through the Second World War, by then in his later 60s, but still on the list of the Royal Naval Reserve. A thorough Englishman, he made his living by drawing and painting amazing and captivating travel images for the Empire Marketing Board, and British Railway as well as in periodicals like Punch and Yellow Book. Between 1902-1933, with a break for his wartime service, he illustrated more than 50 books ranging from A Christmas Carol to The Great War.

Whenever possible, it seems he tried to work warships into his commercial illustrations.

"Gibraltar" by Charles Pears, for the Empire Marketing Board, 1930. Note that its a travel poster-- but he still was able to work in a plethora of Royal Navy ships on the horizon.

“Gibraltar” by Charles Pears, for the Empire Marketing Board, 1930. Note that its a travel poster– but he still was able to work in a plethora of Royal Navy ships on the horizon.

Again, its a travel poster-- but you see the naval aspect clearly.

Again, its a travel poster– but you see the naval aspect clearly.

Charles Pears paid the bills through illustrating.

Charles Pears paid the bills through illustrating.

"New Fast Turbine Steamers" GWR poster, 1923-1947. Poster produced for the Great Western Railway (GWR) to promote the new turbine steamers St Julien and St Helier which operated on services between Weymouth and the Channel Islands. Artwork by Charles Pears, a marine painter in oil who was an Official Naval Artist during the World Wars. He worked as a poster artist for rail companies and other clients and was also a book illustrator. Dimensions: 1050 mm x 1300 mm.

“New Fast Turbine Steamers” GWR poster, 1923-1947. Poster produced for the Great Western Railway (GWR) to promote the new turbine steamers St Julien and St Helier which operated on services between Weymouth and the Channel Islands. Artwork by Charles Pears, a marine painter in oil who was an Official Naval Artist during the World Wars. He worked as a poster artist for rail companies and other clients and was also a book illustrator. Dimensions: 1050 mm x 1300 mm.

Poster produced for the Great Western Railway (GWR) promoting rail travel to Paignton, South Devon. The poster shows a bathing belle waving a towel on the beach, with the promenade stretching out behind her and sunbathers  enjoying themselves on the beach. Artwork by Charles Pears,

Poster produced for the Great Western Railway (GWR) promoting rail travel to Paignton, South Devon. The poster shows a bathing belle waving a towel on the beach, with the promenade stretching out behind her and sunbathers enjoying themselves on the beach. Artwork by Charles Pears,

However it is is maritime art in oils that Pear excelled in. He lived in the age of the mighty dreadnought and as such, captured some of the best battleship painting ever to grace a canvas.

"HMS Queen Elizabeth" by Charles Pears. he Royal Society of Marine Artists; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

“HMS Queen Elizabeth” by Charles Pears. he Royal Society of Marine Artists; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

"Transport by Sea: Supplying the Navy 1917" by Charles Pears 1873-1958 Presented by the Ministry of Information 1918 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P03061

“Transport by Sea: Supplying the Navy 1917” by Charles Pears 1873-1958 Presented by the Ministry of Information 1918

Charles Pears "HMS Courageous in drydock"

Charles Pears “HMS Courageous in drydock”

"Battleship HMS Howe in Suez Canal"by Charles Pears

“Battleship HMS Howe in Suez Canal”by Charles Pears. Click to very much biggup

"Jervis Bay action" by Charles Pears

“Jervis Bay action” by Charles Pears

"The Bombing of The British Chancellor in Falmouth Docks, 1940" by Charles Pears

“The Bombing of The British Chancellor in Falmouth Docks, 1940” by Charles Pears

"British sub K22 in drydock at Rosyth, Winter" by Charles Pears. The Royal Society of Marine Artists; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

“British sub K22 in drydock at Rosyth, Winter” by Charles Pears. The Royal Society of Marine Artists; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

"Streaming the para-vanes" by Charles Pears. The Royal Society of Marine Artists; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

“Streaming the para-vanes” by Charles Pears. The Royal Society of Marine Artists; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

"HMS Ullswater torpedoed. " by Charles Pears. The Royal Society of Marine Artists; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

“HMS Ullswater torpedoed. ” by Charles Pears. The Royal Society of Marine Artists; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

A motor launch recovering a torpedo. The Royal Society of Marine Artists; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

A motor launch recovering a torpedo. The Royal Society of Marine Artists; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Pears - Hard Lying

Pears – Hard Lying

"A Boarding Party of Royal Naval Reserve Men Going Aboard a Prize under Searchlight" by Charles Pears

“A Boarding Party of Royal Naval Reserve Men Going Aboard a Prize under Searchlight” by Charles Pears

During WWII he painted “MV San Demetrio gets home” which was turned into a Post Office Savings Bank stamp.

"San Demetrio gets home" By Charles Pears. Collection of the IWM

“San Demetrio gets home” By Charles Pears. Collection of the IWM

His original artwork presently part of the collection of the National Maritime Museum, Imperial War Museum, and others. In all an amazing 83 of his works are held on public display in the UK.

Charles Pears, member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists, Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolor, Royal Institute of Oil Painters and the first elected President of the Society of Marine Artists, died in 1958 at age 84 in Cornwall, but his art is timeless. Many of the ships he captured are immortalized no where else and it is through his scholarship that generations who will never know the experience of a true leviathan ship of war, may gaze upon his art and remember.

Thank you for your work, sir.