Saturday, March 27, 2010

Colors Used in Dazzle Camouflage

There are full-color paintings of dazzle-camouflaged ships from World War I, showing the range of the colors employed, but there are no color photographs of them, only black and white or sepia. In 1922, the Encyclopedia Britannica published a large entry on camouflage, a portion of which, titled "Navy Camouflage," was written by Norman Wilkinson, the British artist who had initiated dazzle-painting a few years earlier. To illustrate that article, Wilkinson included (among others) two small circular watercolors, showing the after-and-before stages of a camouflaged ship, along with a chart of the colors that was "issued to painting contractors showing the principal colors used in dazzle-painting." There were eighteen colors, as shown in the reconstruction above.