HMS 'Wave' Ashore at St Ives, 1952

© the artist's estate. Image credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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A depiction of the Royal Navy 'Algerine'-class minesweeper HMS 'Wave', M385, which broke her moorings at St Ives, Cornwall, in a storm in the early hours of the morning of 30 September 1952. She was holed and flooded when she went ashore on rocks at Westcott's Quay near the Arts Club. The crew were evacuated by breeches buoy and the ship was eventually winched off the rocks by two boom-defence vessels after being ingeniously re-floated by having a barrage balloon stuffed into the hole at low tide and then partly inflated. The artist, who happened to be there, painted the scene from life the morning after the accident, which attracted national attention, and the immediacy of the event is reflected in his handling of the subject. The ship is shown thrust at an angle on to the rocks below a row of terraced houses. The artist has exaggerated the perspective and the empty foreground exaggerates the dramatic effect of the ship's propulsion onto the rocks, and the lucky escape of the houses. Dwarfed by the size of the vessel, a crowd of onlookers is shown on the beach looking up at it.

National Maritime Museum



HMS 'Wave' Ashore at St Ives, 1952




oil on canvas


H 50.3 x W 65 cm

Accession number


Work type



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