HMS 'Cardiff' leading the German fleet to surrender, 1918 by Charles Dixon

HMS 'Cardiff' leading the German fleet to surrender, 1918

Charles Dixon

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HMS 'Cardiff' leading the German fleet to surrender, 1918

Inscribed signed and dated by the artist, lower left: HMS Cardiff leading the German fleet / Charles Dixon/ 1919'. He has also added 'HMS Cardiff' under that ship. The frame bears a longer inscription: 'H.M.S. Cardiff leading ships to surrender, as seen from H.M.S. Seymour, / Nov. 21, 1918. Time 10.45 a.m. Distance at sea about 30 miles.' In fact, and despite Dixon's high quality as a marine painter, it is not a particularly accurate depiction of this well documented event, in which the 'Cardiff' led the German High Seas Fleet into the Forth before it was moved to Scapa Flow in smaller groups (22-26 November). Technically, the ships are too close together and also not well detailed, but since the artist's intention is much more likely to have been to create a general impression, these are sacriices to effect. The view of the approaching line of ships from fine on the starboard bow naturally foreshortens the actual distance between them, and is also an effective way of compressing a large subject into quite a small canvas. Dixon's much larger painting showing the same subject from a more starboard-broadside view (and formerly in the Cardiff Coal Exchange) is also in the Museum collection (BHC0670). The naval airship 'NS8' shown in the present picture at top right was aloft with 'NS7' on this occasion and one of them (or both) films it for cinema newsreel distribution: a captioned copy of the circulated version is now in the Imperial War Museum (IWM637: see This is one of three related watercolours by Dixon of this subject in the collection: PAJ3112 shows the same subject at about 10.45; PAJ2977 shows it at about 11.30, including the flanking northern line of British ships led by the 'Queen Elizabeth', with the southern one (as here) in the distance. [BTodd/PvdM 5/13]

Object number: PAJ3077
Date: 1919
Dimensions: 373 mm x 520 mm

  • Image reference: S2320

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