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The Royal Navy in Action (Hardback)

Art from Dreadnought to Vengeance

Colour Books Maritime > Naval > Royal Navy P&S History > By Century > 19th Century P&S History > By Century > 20th Century Photographic Books

By John Fairley
Imprint: Pen & Sword Maritime
Pages: 160
Illustrations: 60 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781399009492
Published: 30th May 2022



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At the turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries, with the British Empire encompassing the globe, the Royal Navy indisputably ruled the waves. Times change but the magnificence and drama of warships at sea, whether in peace or war, remain an inspiration to artists. This fine book brings together a collection of superb art works which bear witness to the majesty of these mighty ships in action and, at the same time, are a memorial to the dangers, heroism and victories at sea.

The reader is treated to a feast of the finest maritime paintings depicting the Royal Navy’s dramatic confrontations of the last 120 years. Masters such as Norman Wilkinson, Richard Eurich and William Wyllie cover the two World Wars. Other works illustrate the crucial role of the Navy in the Falklands War and the latest aircraft carriers are also represented.

The author draws on his own naval service experience to describe the background to, and significance of, the ships and conflicts that these paintings so vividly record.

The Royal Navy in Action presents a compelling collection of marine art spanning the years 1914 2021. Some paintings by well-known British artists like Eurich, Wilkinson, and Wyllie have appeared in other books, but most are less well known and fresh. These dramatic and evocative depictions have been superbly chosen and attractively reproduced. They are supported by a running text describing actions by the Royal Navy over the last century.

The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord

As featured in

Warship Annual - 2023

Although ships and the sea are the stars of the show, the two paintings of WRNS at work, at the end of the book serve as a reminder of the human element behind the Navy in Action. Finally, the accompanying text not only covers the essential of the conflicts depicted very well but gives them a slant with which the reader might otherwise be unfamiliar. This is a book which should be hung on gallery walls.

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Naval Review

The writing is positively gripping and the artwork is reproduced really well.

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It would be difficult to find a better artistic collection on the Royal Navy during one of the most critical periods in its history.

The National Maritime Historical Society

As featured in

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

About John Fairley

John Fairley has written numerous books on equestrian art including The Art of the Horse, Racing in Art and Great Racehorses in Art. He was joint author of The Monocled Mutineer, which became a celebrated BBC television series.
A noted documentary and sports television producer, he was Director of Programmes at Yorkshire Television. Born in Liverpool, within sight of the Grand National course, he served as an RNVR officer aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Albion. A scholar of The Queen's College, Oxford, he is married, with three daughters, and lives in the Yorkshire racing town of Malton.

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