"Dazzle-Painting in War-Time"

A 1919 edition of "The Studio" has an article by Hugh Hurst on "Dazzle-Painting in War-Time."

These are the dazzle designs for ships developed by Jan Gordon, Steven Spurrier and others and discussed in Gordon (1918).

He writes, "To the lover of the ship for the ship's sake the appearance of our docks in the great ports during the war may perhaps have come as somewhat of a shock, but to the artist the transformation from a monotonous uniformity to a scene presenting a pageant-like array of strong colour and strange designs this change can have been nothing but a joy."

Paintings by LIEUT. L. Campbell Taylor R.N.V.R. and LIEUT. Guy Kortright, R.N.V.R. illustrate some of the "dazzled" ship designs.

S.S. Minnedosa at Liverpool after disembarking American troops. 
Water colour by Guy Kortright, R.N.V.R.

H.M.T. Mauretania entering half-tide dock at Liverpool. 
Water colour by L. Campbell Taylor R.N.V.R. 

Dazzled ships in Canada Dock, Liverpool. 
Water colour by L. Campbell Taylor R.N.V.R.

S.S. Dictator in Herculaneum Dock, Liverpool. 
Water colour by Guy Kortright, R.N.V.R.

Dazzled ship taking in coal at Liverpool. 
Water colour by L. Campbell Taylor R.N.V.R.

Hurst describes the effect of "many miles of docks crowded with vessels of all sorts" . "Take all of these, huddle them together in what appears to be hopeless confusion, but which in reality is perfect order, bow and stern pointing in all directions, mix a little sunshine, add the varied and sparkling reflections, stir the hotchpotch up with smoke, life, and incessant movement, and it can safely be said that the word "dazzle" is not far from the mark."


  1. Hi Ru - great post - is the Hugh Hurst article on line? I checked out Internet Archive but couldn't see it - love to read! Cheers Colin

    1. I only have the original, but will scan given a spare moment or two.


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