These limited edition prints are from an original Indian ink and gouache painting by William McDowell (1888 – 1950).
The original painting was presented to HMCS Bytown Naval Officers’ Mess (Wardroom) by Commodore G.R. Miles, OBE, RCN in about 1948. He had been the first Commanding Officer of HMCS Athabaskan from 2 February 1943 until 22 October 1943. The print image has been digitally restored by Barry Tate, a professional artist to remove the blemishes and scratches which occurred over the years after McDowell painted the original in May 1944. The restored print was made available to mark the 70th Anniversary of the loss of HMCS Athabaskan, which occurred on 29 April 1944 and is the subject of this painting.
HMCS Athabaskan (G07), a Tribal class destroyer, was built at the Vickers Armstrong shipyard and was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy on 3 February 1943. Athabaskan was lost in the English Channel on the night of 29 April 1944. She had been torpedoed by a German Ebling class destroyer T24. 128 officers and men (including the Commanding Officer: Lieutenant Commander John Stubbs, DSO, DSC, RCN) were lost, 83 were taken prisoner and 44 were rescued by HMCS Haida (G63) (Captain Harry DeWolf in command).
The artist William McDowell began his career as a draughtsman at the Vickers “Naval Construction Shipyard” in Barrow, England. He studied naval architecture and was an associate member of the Institute of Naval Architects. He became a professional marine and war artist whose many works always demonstrated precision and detail, as is effectively demonstrated in the subject painting.
Print #1/300 was formally presented by Commodore Darren Hawco, Commander Atlantic Fleet, on behalf of HMCS Bytown, to HMCS Athabaskan in Halifax on 3 February 2013 to recognize the 70th anniversary of her 3 February 1943 commissioning. Print # 2/300 was presented by Lieutenant Commander Bill Dziadyk (retired), Heritage Officer, HMCS Bytown to HMCS Haida in Hamilton later 30 August 2013 to recognize the 70th anniversary of her 30 Aug 1943 commissioning.
These historic Royal Canadian Navy prints (with certificates of Authenticity) are available to the public.
Print only - $150 plus HST, shipping $15 North America
image size 15.5 x 10" / image including title line 15.5 x 10.5"
As a professional artist with a century long history of sailors in my family, it was pleasure to have the opportunity to work with HMCS Bytown on this project. The original painting had poetically suffered some of it's own battle scars over the years. Fine scratches and nicks, a few blotches and stains here and there... Through a long process using state-of-the-art photo editing tools, we carefully restored the painting to it's original condition.
McDowell painted his original works quickly and spontaneously on beige colored illustration board using water and Chinese ink. Derived from the fine black coatings formed inside the surfaces of oil lamps, this ink remains one of the best, most archival art mediums ever invented.
For the brightest highlights in his work like search lights, flairs and ordnance explosions, McDowell then used small amounts of white and blue gouache -a special opaque artist paint.
William McDowell added the following details in his own handwriting on the back of his original painting:
"Canadian Destroyer “Haida” stops to pickup survivors of the “Athabaskan”
Note 1. The navy pattern of lifejacket has a small electric light fixed on the shoulder, to enable the wearer to be located at night.
Note 2. The Canadian class of destroyer to which “Athabaskan” & “Haida” belong are practically identical with the British Tribal class (see Jane)."
CUSTOM FRAMING - SPECIAL PRICING !!!
For customers who reside in the Ottawa area and wish to have their print matted and framed, we have arranged a 20% discount for custom framing by an Ottawa framing shop. The Certificate of Authenticity can be mounted in a sleeve on the reverse or can be framed separately.
In addition to such custom framing, customers can select matting and framing for their print which would be identical to those used in the formal presentations of print #1 to HMCS Athabaskan in Halifax and print #2 to HMCS Haida in Hamilton. In these versions, the Certificate of Authenticity is mounted in a sleeve on the reverse.
If purchasers wish to take advantage of these special prices, they only need to take their limited edition print into the framing shop and identify the print as being the "Canadian destroyer "Haida" stops to pickup survivors from the "Athabaskan". The contact details for the framing shop are:
Modern Painting & Framing
4-1315 Richmond Road
Ottawa, On, K2B-8J7
copyright © 2013 HMCS Bytown Incorporated