Dazzle ships

These beautiful floating pieces of art!

Scots Roots

Dazzle ships 1I’d never heard of dazzle ships until I came upon this one recently. I was amazed to learn that more than 2,000 ships were ‘dazzled’ during the First World War and that the process continued to be used into the Second.

‘Dazzling’ is a camouflage system that uses disorientating shapes to make it hard to estimate a ship’s range, speed and direction of travel, the aim being to confuse rather than conceal.

Dazzle ships 2It was developed by British marine artist, Norman Wilkinson, mainly to counter the threat posed by German U-Boats, employing techniques resembling those of avant-garde British painters.

This ship, the HMS President, one of three surviving WW1 warships, was ‘dazzled’ on its launch in 1918 (known then as HMS Saxifrage).  The current design is not the original but a contemporary work by German artist, Tobias Rehberger.

Dazzle ships 3

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