The Ocean Liner Museum and the Seamenís Church Institute take pleasure in announcing presentation of a
joint exhibition to open in the ground floor gallery of the Seamenís Church Institute at 241 Water Street in
early fall 2001.
Entitled DAZZLE & DRAB : OCEAN LINERS AT WAR, the exhibition will document the
varying roles assigned to peacetime ocean liners when dispatched on the urgent business of war. Those
assignments included conversion to armed merchant cruisers, troopships or, during World War I in
particular, the benevolent role of hospital ship.
One visual change involving liners during that war was an experimental scheme of camouflage
designed to mislead enemy commanders as to the size, course and nature of any Allied merchant vessels
they encountered. Dreamed up by Norman Wilkinson, a celebrated marine artist seconded to the Admiralty
for the duration, the radical cosmetic refit was called dazzle painting: Hull, superstructure and funnels were
daubed in a sometimes startling, multi-colored overlay of triangles, diamonds, stripes or arbitrary design
whimsies that effectively broke up the vesselís silhouette. Hence the DAZZLE of the title.
During the next war, dazzle painting fell out of favor, deemed either ineffectual or too time-consuming. It
was replaced by an enveloping coat of battleship gray, spread across the linerís entire profile, covering hull,
funnels, superstructure and even portholes and promenade deck windows. Thus the World War II substitute
for dazzle, DRAB.
Woody Swain, who serves on the boards of both Seamenís Church Institute and the Ocean Liner
Museum, will chair the exhibition. Serving as his guest curator will be Wayne Mazzotta who did such a
superb job with Blue Ribband.