“Nelson’s Bright Yellow”

HMS Victory under false colours…

Click on the image below to see more detail.

"Nelson's Bright Yellow"

“Nelson’s Bright Yellow”

By Gordon Frickers 28 x 40 cms (11″ x 16″), Oils, available, £15,000

This abstract painting

started life with an order from Nelson to the dockyard at Malta for paints to make a bright yellow paint, a colour he thought looked “more warlike” and which became the ‘signature of his ships including those who sailed with him, his “Band of brothers”.
Next, back in the early 1995 when Gordon Frickers was official artist to HMS Victory, a project for raising funds to help with her renovation there came a day while standing near HMS Victory with the keeper Peter Goodwin Gordon pointed out the bright chrome yellow the Royal Navy used on her hull was wrong.
Disbelief was followed by consternation when he said chrome yellow was not in general use until about 1818 before which it was a very expensive ‘exotic’ colour.

Many years later Peter Goodwin in his role as Keeper and Curator of Victory found a letter from Nelson for paint which included the bright yellow mix ratio.
Peter asked Frickers to run some test.

Nelson's Bright Yellow, detail, 'Winsor & Newton' light gold compared with 'Rembrandt' yellow ochre..

Nelson’s Bright Yellow, detail, ‘Winsor & Newton’ light gold compared with ‘Rembrandt’ yellow ochre…

This painting is one.

Nelson at Gibraltar” is the first painting since living memory to be sure to show correctly “Nelson’s Bright Yellow“.

By happy coincidence a visit to Her Majesties United Kingdom Hydrographic Office confirmed their findings when Gordon saw a series of Serres watercolours made at that time and very rarely exposed to light so still ‘as painted’.

Serres was official marine artist appointed by King George III

Credit where it is due: Special thanks to Peter Goodwin, Keeper and Curator of HMS Victory, author and excellent researcher.
Is there anyone alive or dead knows more about the Georgian Navy and HMS Victory in particular than Peter Goodwin?

Copyright 2016:

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Gordon Frickers © 21.07.11 updated 02,02,16, 24.08.16, 26.01.2017

Further Reading: Useful facts + excellent stories about "Nelson's Bright Yellow".

 


 

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