W A Richards (exh.1893 - 1920):
HMS Ramillies as she appeared in September 1917, when serving with the First Division of the First Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet, 1917
Framed (ref: 2583)
Signed, titled on a label to the reverse
Watercolour on paper, 15 x 9 in. (38 x 22.9 cm.)
This picture gives a unique record of the first appearance of dazzle
camouflage, as applied to HMS Ramillies in September 1917.This early and
rare experimental scheme, which involved the use of multi-colours, was
replaced in March 1918 with a more conventional grey dazzle camouflage.
Dazzle camouflage, also known as Razzle Dazzle or Dazzle painting, was a
camouflage paint scheme used on ships from August 1917. Invented by the
artist NormanWilkinson, a Lt. Com. on Royal Navy patrol duty, it consisted of a complex pattern of geometric shapes in contrasting colours, interrupting and intersecting each other . ‘The primary object of this scheme was not so much to cause the enemy to miss his shot when actually in firing position, but to mislead him, when the ship was first sighted, as to the correct position to take up’ (NormanWilkinson, 1919 lecture).
All patterns for ships were different, first tested on small wooden models viewed through a periscope. Most of the model designs were painted by women artists from London’s Royal Academy of Arts.