Friday, May 6, 2016

Dazzle Camouflage Designs Applied Willy Nilly

John Goss book illustration (1919)
This is a full-page illustration from a rather curious book that came out the year that World War I ended. Written by Isabel Hornibrook and titled Camp Fire Girls in War and Peace (Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, 1919), it has an entire chapter about the efforts of a Camp Fire Girl named Sara, who (as shown here) decides to apply a dazzle design to a small boat. Throughout the chapter, there is some wonderful dialog on wartime camouflage and public attitudes toward it. The book's illustrator was John Goss (1887-1963), who headed the graphic arts department of the Rhode Island School of Design, and at one time shared a studio with typographer and book designer W.A. Dwiggins in Boston.

At about the same time, the application of dazzle-like camouflage patterns to rowboats was all but epidemic (see below), as were cartoon comparisons of dazzle with all sorts of commonplace phenomena.