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Bright Yellow?

What was / is Bright yellow on warships and why important to my ‘Trafalgar Collection?

A Detail from ‘First Shots’

More than one ship today sports a curious choice of yellow line on her hull.
Quite different from ‘Nelson’s Bright Yellow’.

‘First shots’, HMS Victory at Trafalgar …

At that time [1995] Victory was painted Chrome Yellow.
As a marine artist I knew Chrome yellow was very expensive before 1820.
I suggested it was an error to use it for 1805.
Consternation !
Victory is the Royal Navy’s most famous icon !

Nelson’s Bright Yellow

I researched the colours, external and internal, at Portsmouth and elsewhere, together with Mr. Peter Goodwin when he was ‘Keeper and Curator of HMS Victory.

Mr. Goodwin had aged paint samples from Victory’s hull tested, found a letter by Nelsons hand to the dockyard in Malta specifying the mix, then asked me to produce some tests.

Later our results were further confirmed by some amazing paintings I was shown at H M Hydrographic Office, Taunton [where the world famous Admiralty Charts are produced] by Serres.

The Serres master pieces, with Guy Hannaford

When painted, Serres was Official Marine Artist to the King, commissioned to paint the entire French coast, ‘plien aire’, for navigational purposes.
His paintings are carefully preserved, have rarely seen daylight so the colours were as new.
I felt very honoured to be shown them.

P Goodwin, G Frickers, HM Sloop Racehorse

Me, Gordon Frickers, with Mr. Peter Goodwin, former Keeper and Curator of HMS Victory, also the distinguished author of some 17 naval books.
The painting is the newest addition to my ‘Nelson and Trafalgar Collection, a collection to date never exhibited in public however it is available.
This painting, ‘HMS Racehorse‘, is as correct as we could make it, down to the last minor details so also an historic document.
The painting of HMS Racehorse was produced to be included in Mr. Goodwin’s new book ‘Nelson’s Arctic Voyage‘.
A splendid read, highly recommended by me ! 


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