The British destroyer 'Montrose' is shown entering Reykjavik Harbour during the Second World War. She flies a blue and white flag at the main, together with the white ensign at her stern. The city of Reykjavik is visible on the left with snow-covered mountains towering up behind it, partly obscured by low cloud, and this limited visibility is repeated through the depiction of smoke billowing from the funnels of the ship. Snow is also visible on the terracotta roofs of the buildings of the city and also covering the deck and guns of the ship. The artist has employed a limited palette of blues and greys to create both the impression of cold to city and ship alike. 'Montrose' was a fleet destroyer built in 1919 and sank in 1944. Although Iceland was a neutral territory during the Second World War, it was occupied by British forces in May 1940 in order to pre-empt a likely German invasion. When the occupying British troops were needed elsewhere, the USA took over stewardship of the island. The artist worked for the 'Illustrated London News' and the 'Sphere'. During the Second World War he painted naval actions with a closely observed and highly detailed finish, presenting a heightened sense of the drama of events such as this, and these appeared as double-page spreads. The painting is signed 'C E Turner'.
Where to see this painting?
National Maritime Museum
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