FROM DOCK TO DECK

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FROM DOCK TO DECK

 

1. Frank Brangwyn, The Look-out, 1917

Brangwyn's series of six lithographs for the Efforts and Ideals was entitled 'Making Sailors'. Here we experience the loneliness of the look-out stationed on deck, gazing out at the dark sea. The choppy shapes of the waves and the shiny metal texture of the large guns are echoed in the man's waterproof coat, while the softness and open gesture of the man's bare hand provide a contrast with the hard, reflective surfaces that surround him.

2. Charles Pears, Place of Safety, 1917

This lithograph from the Efforts and Ideals 'Transport by Sea' series underlines the dangers faced by those in the merchant navy, as sailors struggle through the waves to reach the insubstantial-looking lifeboats, while shells burst overhead. The human drama of this scene stands in stark contrast to other views by Pears, in which the ships seem to make their stately way across the seas, invulnerable to attack as they transport essential supplies, escorted by naval ships.

3. Frank Brangwyn, The Gun, 1917

This is the last of Brangwyn's six subjects in 'Making Sailors'. Here we experience the concentration and suspense of those manning the guns on board ship, the twisting diagonal composition and closely clustered figures combining to intensify the drama of the scene. The style of this lithograph is reminiscent of works by the French artist Honoré Daumier (1808–1879), such as his Destruction of a City (WA1937.15) in the Ashmolean's collection. The tension experienced by the men is revealed in the powerful bare arm and hunched shoulders of the central standing figure, echoed by the taut muscles in the bent arm of the figure below him, pushing up from the deck.

 

 

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