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'Norland' and Warships at San Carlos
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Fleet Air Arm Museum

'Norland' and Warships at San Carlos c.1983

Roderick Macdonald (1921–2001)

Fleet Air Arm Museum

Naval officer and artist, born in Batavia (now Jakarta), Java, where his father was a rubber, tea and coffee planter. As a small boy Roderick wished to go to sea. After prep school in Moffat he attended Fettes College, Edinburgh, developed an interest in art and became a fine rugby player, being made school captain – he also captained the Scottish Schoolboys, and played for United Services and Hampshire – and grew to love the Highlands while living in a croft with a Gaelic-speaking family. He abandoned the idea of being a full-time artist to join the Navy in 1939 and saw World War II and later service in widespread waters, drawing vivid illustrations of D-Day action. His 1993 book The Figurehead contains such sketches. Macdonald’s slim volume Your Ship, published 1971, remained a manual for officers taking command of their first vessel.

Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)

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