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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.

September 2016