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 The experienced crew of a WW2 German  U-boat hunt their next target.

Hunter's Lair by Jason Askew. (P)
 The surviving soldiers mustered and awaited their officers' orders. Salmond ordered Colonel Seton to send men to the chain pumps; sixty were directed to this task, sixty more were assigned to the tackles of the lifeboats, and the rest were assembled on the poop deck in order to raise the forward part of the ship.  The women and children were placed in the ship's cutter, which lay alongside. Two other boats were manned, but one was immediately swamped and the other could not be launched due to poor maintenance and paint on the winches, leaving only three boats available. The two large boats, with capacities of 150 men each, were not among them.The surviving officers and men assembled on deck, where Lieutenant-Colonel Seton of the 74th Foot took charge of all military personnel and stressed the necessity of maintaining order and discipline to his officers. As a survivor later recounted: 'Almost everybody kept silent, indeed nothing was heard, but the kicking of the horses and the orders of Salmond, all given in a clear firm voice.' Ten minutes after the first impact, the engines still turning astern, the ship struck again beneath the engine room, tearing open her bottom. She instantly broke in two just aft of the mainmast. The funnel went over the side and the forepart of the ship sank at once. The stern section, now crowded with men, floated for a few minutes before sinking.Just before she sank, Salmond called out that 'all those who can swim jump overboard, and make for the boats'. Colonel Seton, however, recognising that rushing the lifeboats would risk swamping them and endangering the women and children, ordered the men to stand fast, and only three men made the attempt. The cavalry horses were freed and driven into the sea in the hope that they might be able to swim ashore.The soldiers did not move, even as the ship broke up barely 20 minutes after striking the rock. Some of the soldiers managed to swim the 2 miles (3.2 km) to shore over the next 12 hours, often hanging on to pieces of the wreck to stay afloat, but most drowned, died of exposure, or were killed by sharks.<br><br><i>'I remained on the wreck until she went down; the suction took me down some way, and a man got hold of my leg, but I managed to kick him off and came up and struck out for some pieces of wood that were on the water and started for land, about two miles off. I was in the water about five hours, as the shore was so rocky and the surf ran so high that a great many were lost trying to land. Nearly all those that took to the water without their clothes on were taken by sharks; hundreds of them were all round us, and I saw men taken by them close to me, but as I was dressed (having on a flannel shirt and trousers) they preferred the others. I was not in the least hurt, and am happy to say, kept my head clear; most of the officers lost their lives from losing their presence of mind and trying to take money with them, and from not throwing off their coats.'</i><br>- Letter from Lieutenant J.F. Girardot, 43rd Light Infantry, to his father, 1 March 1852<br><br>The sinking of the Birkenhead is the earliest maritime disaster evacuation during which the concept of 'women and children first' is known to have been applied. 'Women and children first' subsequently became standard procedure in relation to the evacuation of sinking ships, both in fiction and in real life. The synonymous 'Birkenhead drill' became an exemplar of courageous behaviour in hopeless circumstances, and appeared in Rudyard Kipling's 1893 tribute to the Royal Marines, 'Soldier an' Sailor Too':<br><br><i>To take your chance in the thick of a rush, with firing all about,<br>Is nothing so bad when you've cover to 'and, an' leave an' likin' to shout;<br>But to stand an' be still to the Birken'ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew,<br>An' they done it, the Jollies -- 'Er Majesty's Jollies -- soldier an' sailor too!<br>Their work was done when it 'adn't begun; they was younger nor me an' you;<br>Their choice it was plain between drownin' in 'eaps an' bein' mopped by the screw,<br>So they stood an' was still to the Birken'ead drill, soldier an' sailor too</i>

The Wreck of the Birkenhead 1852 by Charles Dixon. (B)
 The mainstay of the Royal Navy's Coastal Forces fleet from 1941, the 72-foot Vosper MTBs were among the fastest and most successful ever built. With their three Packard 1400hp engines and bigger fuel tanks, these boats could reach speeds of up to 39 knots with a maximum range of 400 miles. Armament varied from boat to boat, but those depicted are fitted with the standard 21-inch torpedo tubes and a twin .5 inch MkV Vickers machine gun mounting. Crew was typically two officers and eleven ratings.

On the Step by Ivan Berryman.
 In January 1941, the young Mario Arillo was appointed the rank of Lieutenant Commander, placed in charge of the Regia Marina's submarine <i>Ambra</i> and was dispatched to the Mediterranean to help disrupt supplies to the Allied forces.  In May of that same year, Arillo attacked the British Dido Class Cruiser <i>HMS Bonaventure</i>, and Destroyers <i>HMS Hereward</i> and <i>HMS Stuart</i>, south of Crete, en route from Alexandria, the cruiser <i>Bonaventure</i> being sunk with great loss of life.  The <i>Ambra</i> is depicted here in a calmer moment, two of her crew scanning the horizon for 'business'.

Hunter's Dusk by Ivan Berryman. (PC)

 Under the command of Gianfranco Gazzana-Priaroggia, the Regia Marina submarine Leonardo da Vinci was to become the most successful non-German submarine of World War Two.  On 21st April 1943, she encountered the liberty ship SS John Drayton which was returning, unladen, to Capetown from Bahrain and put two torpedoes into her before surfacing to finish her off with shells.  The deadly reign of terror wrought by the combination of Gazzana-Priaroggia and his submarine came to an end just one month later when the Leonardo da Vinci was sunk by HMS Active and HMS Ness off Cape Finistere.

Scourge of the Deep - Leonardo da Vinci by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 Sitting menacingly at a depth of 15 metres below the surface, just 2 km outside the heavily defended harbour of Alexandria, the Italian submarine Scire is shown releasing her three manned torpedoes, or <i>Maiali</i>, at the outset of their daring raid in which the British battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Valiant and a tanker, were severely damaged on 3rd December 1941.  All six crew members of the three <i>Maiali</i> survived the mission, but all were captured and taken prisoner.  Luigi Durand de la Penne and Emilio Bianchi can be seen moving away aboard 221, whilst Vincenzo Martellotta and Mario Marino (222) carry out systems checks.  Antonio Marceglia and Spartaco Schergat, on 223, are heading away at the top of the picture.

Assault from the Deep by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 A Type VIIC U-Boat slips quietly toward the open sea from her pen at Lorient, France in 1942.

Dawn Departure by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
  Erich Topps notorious Red Devil Boat, U-552, slips quietly away from the scene of another victory in the North Atlantic in 1941.

U-552 by Ivan Berryman. (PC)

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