Oil on canvas
66 x 137 cm
Recto: Signed lower right
Aka: The Last Voyage of HMS Vanguard, Portsmouth: 4th August, 1960, No 1 [RA]; HMS Vanguard towed to her last berth, Portsmouth, 4th August 1960 [RE sales diary]England Hampshire Portsmouth The South Ministry of Defence Art Collection WW2 battleship cranes fort public collection towing tugs tug boat warships
This painting depicts HMS Vanguard, the Royal Navy's last battleship, being towed out of Portsmouth harbour on its final journey to the breaker's yard. The story of its departure is well documented because it notoriously ran aground.
We have records of three other RE works depicting the departure: Last Voyage of HMS Vanguard, Portsmouth: 4th August, 1960, No 2 (1961), HMS Vanguard, 4th August 1960, Portsmouth (1961), and Study of HMS Vanguard leaving Portsmouth to be Broken Up (c1961). The last two may refer to the same work.
In 2012 this work was recorded on Art UK to be in the MInistry of Defence Art Collection, but we lost track of the painting's whereabouts when in 2017 the ownership of the collection was transferred to several museums and public bodies throughout the UK.
In November 2022 the National Museum of the Royal Navy contacted us through this online catalogue to say they hold the painting in their collection.
The sketch below is dated the 6th of August, 1960 but the event of HMS Vanguard being towed out of Portsmouth harbour is generally recorded as being the 4th of August. We cannot explain this discrepency.
by the Admiralty Board
"Summer Exhibition 1961" - Royal Academy of Arts, London
Ministry of Defence Art Collection
Ownership transferred from the Ministry of Defence Art Collection to the National Museum of the Royal Navy, object no. NMRN 2017/106/302
If you can help add to this timeline, please get in touch below.
Sketch_18-71 last voyage Vanguard Portsmouth (6th Aug 1960)
Image © Richard Eurich Paintings
HMS Vanguard, 4th August 1960, Portsmouth (1961)
Image © Gracefields Arts Centre
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