The Royal Navy has been an abundant source of inspiration to artists through the years and a new special exhibition “Weighing Anchor: An Artist at Sea onboard HMS Argyll & Tireless” opening on December 11th at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard draws on this rich tradition.
Artist Jules George was granted rare access to join Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll three times on active deployment in the Falklands, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean and one trip with submarine HMS Tireless and has created an extensive body of new artwork inspired by these experiences.
On display for the first time, his work, numbering almost 60 paintings and drawings, reveals an interest in the activities of the crew as they undertake everyday routines. Jules explored every facet of the crews’ work from the engine room to the bridge, joining helicopter crews and Marine boarding parties even losing one of his pieces overboard.
The exhibition features a series of paintings which record his deployment with HMS Argyll to the Falkland Islands. These poignant works make connections to the war in 1982 and the earlier battle of the Falklands in 1914, the centenary of which is marked on 8 December 2014. In contrast to the wide-open seascapes of the Falklands, his paintings of the submarine Tireless reveal the close inter-relationship between the crew and their boat.
Curator Victoria Ingles explains: “People are familiar with war art, but seeing this insight into peacetime activity shows a very different perspective. This vital work undertaken by the Royal Navy often goes unacknowledged as serving personnel operate in a closed environment, out of the public spotlight. We are very grateful to the Arts Council for their generous funding of the exhibition and we are thrilled to work with a contemporary artist of Jules’ calibre.”
Entry to the exhibition is free with a valid Museum ticket.