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Maintaining Export Trade

PEARS, Charles (1873 - 1958)

Maintaining Export Trade - Charles Pears
Maintaining Export Trade - Charles Pears
Maintaining Export Trade

Date: 1917

Media: lithograph on paper

Acquired: 1919; Presented by Ministry of Information

Accession Number: NWM A 13213

Collection: The Great War: Britain's Efforts and Ideals

Silhouetted in the foreground is a German submarine, known as a U-boat.  It has just hit a ship, seen behind, on fire.  Germany used submarines with deadly consequences during the First World War.  Maintaining export was vital to the national income and war effort.  Many pre-war trade channels remained open, for instance Welsh tinplate was supplied to France to can military foodstuffs. Pears uses light and dark contrast to great effect in the work. 

The merchant navy undertook vital tasks during the war, supporting naval ships, transporting troops and carrying essential supplies.  It was dangerous work and the fleet suffered great losses.  Pears’ images capture the ships in great detail. 

Pears was born in Pontefract, Yorkshire and, although he worked as a successful illustrator and lithographer, is best known for his marine paintings. During the First World War Pears was a commissioned officer in the Royal Marines, and worked as an official naval artist from 1914-1918, and again in 1940. Throughout his career he was also a popular poster designer, creating works for organisations including the London Underground.

This work forms part of the portfolio The Great War: Britain's Efforts and Ideals, a series of 66 lithographic prints commissioned by the Ministry of Information in 1917. The series provide a broad and fascinating representation of Britain’s war objectives, military activities and effort on the Home Front.

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