HMS INDOMITABLE, 1942/43

Parkes, Oscar (1885-1958). Watercolour heightened with white and signed (lower right) and annotated (bottom margin of paper, beneath the mount/mat): HMS INDOMITABLE.

HMS INDOMITABLE, 1942/43

14 1/4 x 9 1/4 ins (36 x 23.5 cms) approx

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Oscar Parkes OBE MB ChB was a doctor in general practice, qualifying in 1914.  He joined the Royal Navy and after some sea time was appointed to the Naval Intelligence Division at the Admiralty.  In 1919 he became official naval artist and director of the naval photographic section at the Imperial War Museum and although he left the Service in 1920 he had already been appointed editor of Jane's Fighting Ships, the  annual publication founded in 1897: he was to occupy this post with distinct success for some 17 years.  He also produced the authoritative work on the Royal Navy's battleships - British Battleships: a History of Design, Construction and Armament which, following its conception in 1925 was finally published to great acclaim in 1957: it remains to this day the final word on the subject and can never be superceded.  As well as all this he was still painting and his works are much admired and collected these days though there are far too few of them!  He features in the collections of both the National Maritime Museum Grenwich and the Imperial War Museum. All the while he remained involved in medical practice and was for a while on the staff of Fordingbridge hospital in Hampshire. In 1958 he retired and went to live in Northern Ireland where he died aged 72 that same year.  Painting, his garden and the Royal Navy were his abiding passions.