About this artwork

“The greatest naval surrender in the world's history” was how the Glasgow Herald recorded the surrender of the German fleet in the Firth of Forth on 21 November 1918. It signalled not only the end of German naval power but also the public humiliation of the country that Britain had fought bitterly for four long years. Some seventy journalists, press photographers and marine painters flocked to Edinburgh to witness “a triumph to which history knows no parallel.” Among them was James Paterson. The artist watched the surrender from the deck of HMS Revenge. This painting is an accurate record of what happened that day. The sun rising through the haze and fog creates a beautiful glow across the water, contrasting against the aggressive forms of the camouflaged vessels.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    The German fleet after surrender, Firth of Forth, 21 November 1918
  • date created:
    1918
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    71.30 x 91.50 cm (framed: 90.10 x 100.60 x 7.00 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1988
  • accession number:
    PG 2733
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • glossary:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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James Paterson

James Paterson