|BBC website on WW1 ship camouflage|
In 1917, on a patrol ship in the dangerous waters around Britain, the artist and illustrator Norman Wilkinson had a brainwave. As a Royal Navy volunteer in World War One, he had become all too aware of the threat from Germany's u-boats.
Wilkinson decided he could use his artistic skills to protect Allied ships. He realized that it was impossible to paint a ship in camouflage that would hide it from the sights of a submarine commander. Instead, he proposed that the "extreme opposite" was the answer.
Rather than trying to make a ship vanish on the ocean waves, he developed a radical camouflage scheme that used bold shapes and violent contrasts of color. His purpose was to confuse rather than conceal. more>>>