The Wokingham Paper

Every Picture Tells a Story: Greenwood … The Last Battleship


With Remembrance Day coming up on Sunday, I thought it would be appropriate to write a story this week about a painting with links to our wonderful and, in my opinion, undervalued Armed Services.

What better than a recent addition to the walls of my gallery thanks to a local artist David Greenwood. Today I am featuring one of David’s beautiful paintings, an original oil on canvas of HMS Vanguard following its decommissioning at Faslane in Scotland.

HMS Vanguard was the last Battleship ever built in Britain. Construction was started during the early part of the Second World War but due to changes in design and construction delays wasn’t completed until late 1944 but due to a fatal explosion during its final fit out was not commissioned until after the end of the war in May 1946.

The ship was built by John Brown and Company of Clydebank and launched by the then Princess Elizabeth… The first ship our current Queen ever launched.

Following sea trials during that summer the ship was finally commissioned in August 1946 at a total cost of over £11 million. The ship was always held in high regard among those who served on her and by others who never got the chance.

She was the Royal Navy’s biggest and fastest ever battleship and during her life she served with many fleets within The Royal Navy, nearly always being each fleet’s flagship. The ship’s first task, after completing her sea trials, was to transport King George VI and the rest of the Royal Family on the first ever Royal Tour to South Africa by a reigning monarch.

During her service life Vanguard was involved with supporting many fleets around the world including NATO forces but following a refit in 1955 she was put into reserve with an announcement by the then Government five years later that she was earmarked for decommissioning. She was towed from Portsmouth to a breakers yard in Faslane in 1960.

On leaving Portsmouth hundreds of people lined Southsea seafront to see her off. As well as being the last battleship ever built, she was also the last battleship ever scrapped!

David Greenwood was born and educated in Bradford, Yorkshire. He trained as a commercial artist and illustrator and after completing his National Service he became a map reproduction artist in The Middle East.

By 1969 he had moved to Bristol where he studied art and design full-time and subsequently became a teacher in Berkshire where he still resides to this day. David’s works have been featured in many prestigious exhibitions over the years, including the Royal Society of Painters in Oil and the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour, including some exhibitions at The Mall and Spink Galleries in London. His works feature in many private collections around the world.

This picture is currently available for sale in my showroom or in my online shop and has real value in it, being priced at only £650.

Alternatively, we now offer a leasing arrangement, so this along with all of our paintings, can be rented for a small fixed monthly rental fee.

This piece, along with many other great original works, is available to view, purchase or rent at AntiqArt, the “preloved art” gallery at Holme Grange Craft Village or online at or call us on 0118 327 5421.

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