Laurence Dunn (1910-2006)

SS New Brooklyn (c.1927)

4 x 17 cm

Ink and bodycolour on paper

SS New Brooklyn was built in Belfast by Harland & Wolff in 1920 for Elder Dempster & Co, and was known initially as New Romance. In 1954, she was sold to Mageolia Nav SA, Panama and renamed Marianna. She was scrapped in 1959 at La Spezia. She was an ‘N’ Type fabricated ship with straight frames which was introduced in 1917 to utilise the capacity of bridge building companies which had very little of their normal bridge-building work to do during the war.

Dunn’s drawings of coastal tramps are early works, likely sketched from the side of the Thames estuary near his home. The World Ship Society published the following obituary for the well-published maritime artist and writer  in 2006:

DUNN, Laurence. [December 15 2006 — Lloyds List] Many readers will be saddened by the death of well-known marine artist and writer Laurence Dunn in his 97th year. A man of encyclopaedic knowledge, he began his lifelong love of ships in Brixham, where he meticulously recorded passing traffic with the exquisitely accurate line drawings which later became something of a trademark. While studying at London’s Central School of Art his work was noticed by the Southern Railway, which commissioned profiles of its fleet, and this in turn led to work for Orient Line, where he also designed the well-known corn-coloured hull, and later Thorneycroft, where he helped with shaping draft plans for a new royal yacht. During the second world was he worked for naval intelligence at the Admiralty, where his technique did much to improve recognition standards, and greatly expanded his shipping clientele, becoming personally known to many chairmen. As well as the shipping press he worked for mainstream publications such as Everybody’s, Sphere and the upmarket comic Eagle. Through his many contacts he enjoyed going to sea in a great variety of ships from aircraft carriers to colliers. Laurence wrote several books, starting with ship recognition titles which introduced new standards of layout, but his best known work was probably Passenger Liners, which was widely taken up by the travel trade. His love of Greece, where he was an early publicist of island cruising, let to involvement in reshaping various passenger liners beginning with Greek Line’s OLYMPIA. In later life he designed several sets of shipping stamps for the Crown Agents, produced photographic volumes on Thames and Mediterranean shipping and still found time to enjoy the passing Thames traffic. Our sympathies go to his wife Jennifer, who provided succour to the many ship lovers who beat a path to the welcoming door of their Gravesend home.

Condition: Generally very good, slight toning to paper.

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