St Anthony’s Lighthouse, Falmouth, 1941
Framed (ref: 7672)
Signed and dated
8 ½ x 13 ¼ in. (22 x 34 cm)
Exhibited: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 14.
Literature: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 14, page 51.
The convoy system had been introduced during the First World War and proved that ships sailing in organised groups were much less likely to be sunk.
During the Great War the main threat came from U-Boats but in the Second World War German battle cruisers found rich pickings among undefended convoys. The answer to this problem was an escort by Royal Navy warships.
Platt’s watercolour shows a convoy arriving safely at Falmouth, passing between St. Anthony’s Lighthouse and Pendennis Castle. The convoy is flying kite balloons to discourage attacks by dive bombers. Bringing up the rear is a Hunt Type 1 Class escort destroyer painted with dazzle camouflage.
This is a study for an oil painting which Platt produced for the WAAC and is now part of the collection of the National Maritime Museum. The WAAC accepted a number of Platt’s paintings of convoys and wartime traffic on the Thames. He is best known as a colour woodblock printmaker.
We are grateful to John Noott of John Noott Galleries and Malcolm Rogers for assistance with the catalogue note.
John Edgar Platt (1886-1967)
Wood engraver and painter, born at Leek, Staffordshire. He studied at the Royal College of Art, 1905-08, and went on to become principal of both Leicester College of Art and Blackheath School of Art. He won a gold medal at the International Print Makers' Exhibition, 1922. He exhibited at the RA, NEAC, RE and with the British Council. During World War II he was an Official War Artist. His work is held by the British Museum, Imperial War Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Tate. He wrote for a number of publications including The Studio and The Artist and produced several books on the art of the colour woodcut.
He worked equally successfully in oil, watercolour and wood engraving, usually confining himself to a small scale; he often worked en plein air, a method he successfully employed to respond directly to his subject. His panels are frequently annotated with notes about the weather and light conditions.
Selected Literature: Hilary Chapman, The Colour Woodcuts of John Edgar Platt, 1999.
See all works by John Edgar Platt