Coquelicot Art of the First World War
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L. Campbell Taylor, Herculaneum Dock, Liverpool, 1919, ink and watercolour on paper, 292 x 215 cm, Imperial War Museum, London.

© Imperial War Museum.

Total war

54 - L. Campbell Taylor

The value of this work by Campbell Taylor (1874-1969) is mainly documentary. During the war the painter served in the infantry and then in the navy. He takes the neutral view of the chronicler, paying great attention to technical detail, and his technique is that of an engineer. In the industrial landscape of Liverpool, indicated by a few elements - chimneys, trucks and winches - cargo ships load and unload their merchandise, each displaying its war paint of blue and white stripes or broken lines, designed to mislead enemy observers surveying the sea through periscopes. The hull and the superstructures of the ships are entirely covered over and the geometrical patterns avoid any suspicious evenness.