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'Attack on Whale Island' (exercise)

Prints, drawings and watercolours

Object connections:

Collection Prints, drawings and watercolours, Fine art
Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID PAE1016
Description Inscribed by the artist, as title, and signed, lower left: additional printed text in English added below image. This is an illustration of an amphibious excercise in Portsmouth harbour, apparently for an illustrated magazine reproduction, from which the added text is the printed caption. While that is readable, the following information has been kindly supplied (2012) by Lieutenant-Commander Brian Witts, curator of the HMS Excellent Museum on Whale Island: 'On Friday 3 May 1907, there was a visit to the Navy at Portsmouth by the Colonial Premiers [ie prime mininsters] and the Houses of Parliament. Having had a brief tour of the Dockyard they then proceeded to Whale Island [i.e HMS 'Excellent', the RN gunnery school] where lunch was laid on in the Drill Shed. At 1415 they were driven to the north side of the Island where they were directed to a Grand Stand to witness the landing of a Naval Brigade. HMS EXCELLENT manpower was split into the attacking White Force dressed in white duck uniforms and the defending Blue Force, dressed in blue serge uniforms. The White Force attacked from seaward, hauling ashore their 12 pounders and 4.7 inch guns, and was covered by the fire of a squadron of gunboats. The Blue Force put up a firm resistance with much bangs, flashes and smoke. When it was all over the Blues and Whites mustered in front of the Grand Stand and gave three cheers to the Colonial Premiers.' While it is possible that Wyllie was present, he almost certainly did this drawing from one or more photograhs of the event. The point of view looks north-west from Whale Island across the upper part of Portsmouth harbour, with Porchester Castle visible in the background.
Date made 1907

Artist/Maker Wyllie, William Lionel
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Materials wash, grey
Measurements 252 mm x 353 mm
  • 'Attack on Whale Island' (exercise) (PAE1016)
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