HMS LORD NELSON, IJS KURAMA and FS DANTON: Coronation Review, 1911

Wood, Frank Watson (1862-1953). Watercolour signed and dated 1911 (LR) and annotated by the artist.

HMS LORD NELSON, IJS KURAMA and FS DANTON: Coronation Fleet Review, Spithead, 1911

29.5 x 8.75 inches (74.93 x 22.22 cms) approx

Guide price: £1900

This original has been sold and is no longer available.

One hundred and sixty five vessels anchored at Spithead for HM King George V's Coronation Review including 32 battleships and dreadnoughts, 24 armoured cruisers, 8 protected and 4 unarmoured cruisers, 67 destroyers, 12 torpedo boats and 8 submarines. In addition there were 18 foreign warships and two are featured prominently here, the Japanese armoured cruiser KURAMA (behind and just ahead of LORD NELSON who is foreground, left) wearing the flag of Admiral Hayao Shimamura; and the French battleship DANTON (foreground, right with 5 funnels) (Capitaine de Vaisseau J A A M Habert FN).

The King and Queen arrived at the great naval dockyard of Portsmouth during the morning of Saturday 24 June and as Their Majesties, with The Household in Attendance, embarked in HM Yacht VICTORIA & ALBERT ( Captain N C Palmer MVO ADC RN, Commodore 2nd Class In Charge HM's Yachts), Court Flags were broken. Admiral Sir Arthur Moore, Commander-in-Chief Portsmouth, and Admiral Sir Francis Bridgeman, Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet were received onboard The Royal Yacht by The King and were promoted within the Royal Victorian Order to GCVO; and the 14 other Flag Officers afloat in the Review Lines were also presented to His Majesty. As with Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Review of 1887, ships at the Review had been cautioned to burn Welsh coal only, to reduce smoke and thus collisions.

It was a cool, grey summer's day that threatened rain as the Royal Yacht slipped from South Railway Jetty and made her way serenely out of harbour and towards the waiting armada. To the thunder of a Royal Salute, VICTORIA & ALBERT entered the Review Lines and with ships dressed overall and upper decks manned, The King steamed slowly down the lines of anchored men-of-war, receiving three rousing cheers as each ship was passed.  One of the last two pre-dreadnoughts, HMS LORD NELSON (Captain Alfred Grant RN) here wearing the Flag of Admiral Sir Arthur Moore GCB GCVO CMG, C-in-C Portsmouth, was to have an eventful Great War and shortly after its outbreak in early August 1914 she found herself escorting convoys of ships carrying the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) to France.  In February 1915 she was sailed for the Mediterranean and thence to the Dardanelles where she became the flagship of Vice Admiral Wester Wemyss (who was subsequently to become First Sea Lord); and then Vice Admiral John de Roebeck.  LORD NELSON embarked Lord Kitchener and his staff and was his headquarters ship at Mudros during December 1915; and she remained a  flagship until  April 1919, in the latter 3 years, Flagship Eastern Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea.  She was subsequently paid off and was sold for scrap in November 1920.

Frank Watson Wood was clearly busy at this Review as there are several other watercolours of the event painted by him, one - featuring LORD NELSON also - being available in Maritime Prints' portfolio (see MP057).   He covered also the 1914, 1935 and 1937 Reviews but died in the year of another Fleet Review, that of Queen Elizabeth in 1953.