Richard Eurich

Night Raid on Portsmouth Docks

1941

Artist
Richard Eurich 1903–1992
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 787 x 1270 mm
frame: 972 x 1480 x 80 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the War Artists Advisory Committee 1946
Reference
N05690

On loan to: Portsmouth Museum (Portsmouth, UK)

Exhibition: The Blitz in Portsmouth

Display caption

The naval dockyard at Portsmouth was heavily bombed during the Second World War along with many other strategically important ports and industrial cities. The Ministry of Information sent artists across the country to record such attacks. In Portsmouth, Eurich made the drawings for this work ‘the day after the heavy bombing partly due to the presence of two battleships in the harbour’. At the centre of Eurich’s composition is a vessel from an earlier conflict: HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Its presence in the composition recalls a glorious naval history amid the chaos and destruction of the Blitz.

Gallery label, September 2016

Catalogue entry

N05690 NIGHT RAID ON PORTSMOUTH DOCKS 1941 1941–2
 
Inscr. ‘R. Eurich. 1942.’ b.r.
Canvas, 31×50 (79×127).
Presented by the War Artists' Advisory Committee 1946.
Exh: R.A., 1944 (710), as ‘Night Raid 1941’; National War Pictures, National Gallery, 1944; Spring Exhibition, Bradford, March–June 1945 (225); National War Pictures, R.A., October–November 1945 (325).

The artist wrote (8 September 1956): ‘Painted not long after I became full time painter to the Admiralty. The drawings for this were made on the day after the heavy bombing partly due to the presence of two battleships in the harbour. The topography is pretty accurate though telescoped a bit in places. It was done from the signal tower, which explains the elevation. H.M.S. Victory can be seen over the roof tops.’

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

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