Stratheden at Anchor off Port Said, 1937, by Norman Wilkinson (British, 1878–1971) Oil on canvas
P&O commissioned Norman Wilkinson (British, 1878–1971) to paint its latest liner, Stratheden, in 1937, which was the year of the ship’s launch and the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company’s centenary. Stratheden was the fourth of P&O’s five famous “Strath” ships to be built in the 1930s. The new liners departed from the traditional black livery of P&O’s steamers and were known as the “white sisters.” Stratheden was built with the latest in luxury and passenger comfort, carrying first- and tourist-class passengers to and from Britain and Australia in just six weeks. The Straths were known for their speed, and when World War II broke out, Stratheden was requisitioned for use as a troopship. The ship steamed 485,000 miles and carried some 150,000 service personnel to the battlefields of Europe.
Wilkinson served in the British navy during World War I and was credited with the invention of dazzle camouflage on ships. He was famed for his marine canvases, bringing a unique elegance and superb draftsmanship to his paintings.
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