Wyllie would have had many opportunities to draw or paint watercolours of HMS 'Lion' during World War I when she was part of the First Battle-Cruiser Squadron Grand Fleet as flagship of Vice-Admiral Beatty, taking part in the battle of the Heligoland Bight, 1914, the battle of the Dogger Bank, 1915, and the battle of Jutland, 1916. His painting, 'Bringing in the wounded Lion', exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1915, shows the damaged Lion returning to the Firth of Forth after the battle of the Dogger Bank. Wyllie wrote vividly of seeing HMS 'Lion' when he was with the fleet in 1915:
'When the ship began to swing to the flood I got a moving picture through my scuttle. First, 'Lion' with Sir David Beatty's flag at the fore. Many hoists of bright bunting were mounting in graceful curves to her masthead, but as I looked my picture drew away to the left, the bows of the flagship were hidden, and instead the quarterdeck and ladder came into view. Crowds of seamen were as busy as bees, barges and picket-boats were rushing up, and there was a constant coming and going of officers. But now this scene slipped farther to the left...'
William Lionel Wyllie
Original size: Sheet: 320 x 455 mm
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