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Royal Society of Marine Artists paint HMS Queen Elizabeth

Published: 24 Sep 2013

When David Howell and Geoff Hunt of the Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA) were invited to Rosyth to paint HMS Queen Elizabeth, they naturally left behind at home their bosun’s chair, dungarees and long-handled paint-rollers. Although the ships side and super structure still require a coat of ‘Pusser’s Grey’, the artists had other plans to capture the ship on canvas.

Geoff Hunt specialises in Admiral Lord Nelson’s Navy and also illustrated all of the book covers of the Patrick O’Brian historical naval novels, Master and Commander.

He also acted as a technical advisor in the 2003 film, Master and Commander, ‘The far side of the World’ with actors Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany.

David Howell, President of the RSMA has been a member of the Society for many years and has painted a number of HM Ships in his time.

David Howell said;

“This opportunity of capturing HMS Queen Elizabeth whilst in-build, within the dry dock, just tells the story from the very beginning.

"Cranes, scaffolding, dockyard workers and other vessels in the vicinity, just demonstrates the scale of this magnificent engineering project.”

David Howell also went onto to say;

“I intend to transform my initial sketch of the ship into a water colour for an exhibition that the RSMA are staging in October.

"Thereafter, I hope to produce an oil based painting from my initial work, which will be absolutely fantastic.”

Geoff Hunt said;

“I just cannot believe the size and the scale of HMS Queen Elizabeth.

"Every time I look up from my canvas, I spot another piece of the ship which I then need to add to my sketch.”

The RSMA Annual Exhibition will take place in the Mall Galleries, London between the 16-27 October.

The exhibition will feature works of art with the; sea, harbours, shorelines, racing yachts, traditional water-craft, beaches, creeks, in fact anything that involves tidal waves. This is a chance to view and purchase work by many of the best marine artists working today.

The RSMA has many other links with the maritime world, which includes the Merchant Navy, National Maritime Museum, RNLI, shipping industry, and all sailing craft.

Many of its members are active in teaching, lecturing, and demonstrating their work. The annual exhibition is open to non-members, submitted work being subject to selection by jury.

For supporters and enthusiasts there is membership of the Friends of the RSMA.

To find out more visit

The RSMA is a registered charity and is a member society of the Federation of British Artists based at the Mall Galleries in London.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first of two 65,000-tonne vessels, the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy.

HMS Queen Elizabeth & HMS Prince of Wales are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance made up of the MOD, Babcock, BAE Systems and Thales, and, with advanced construction underway at six shipyards across the UK, the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier programme is sustaining thousands of skilled jobs throughout industry.

The Queen Elizabeth Class carriers will be the centrepiece of Britain's military capability and will routinely operate 12 of the carrier-variant Joint Strike Fighter jets, allowing for unparalleled interoperability with allied forces.

Each carrier will have nine decks, plus a flight deck the size of three football pitches, and two propellers weighing 33 tonnes - nearly two-and-a-half times as heavy as a double-decker bus - driving the ship at a maximum speed of over 25 knots (46km/h).

The vessels will form the cornerstone of Britain's ability to project military power overseas, and will be used for operations ranging from providing air support in conflict zones to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.


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