In this interesting scene of the first world war at sea, Birchall shows one of the small motor launches of the coastal patrol hailing a large sailing barque flying the Norwegian flag and showing the markings of a neutral Norwegian shipping line.
In 1916 the imperial German navy had converted an American barque into the heavily armed and deadly commerce raider SEEADLER. Under the command of the legendary FELIX VON LUCKNER and cleverly disguised as a neutral Norwegian merchant vessel, SEEADLER prowled the seas sinking an unprecedented number of allied ships. The royal navy, when they became aware of the ruse, made a point to stop and identify any Norwegian vessel that fit her description.
Birchall's use of transparent washes in the classic watercolor technique allows the paper to show through to create the fine luminous effect in sea and sky and giving the overall work a feeling of misty nautical realism.
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