Dazzle Ships - The Art Of Confusion

The man finally credited with the idea of dazzle painting ships during the First World War was the British artist Norman Wilkinson. Several other people claimed the idea and others contributed, including a Liverpool art dealer, Archibald Phillips who had submitted to the Admiralty, in 1915, a number of camouflage designs that included a dazzle effect. Whilst on a patrol ship in the dangerous waters around Britain in 1917, Norman Wilkinson had a brainwave. As a Royal Navy volunteer in World War One, he was all too aware of the threat from Germany’s U-boats. He decided he could use his artistic skills to protect Allied ships. He realised that it was impossible to paint a ship in camouflage that would hide it from the sights of a submarine commander, so instead, he proposed that the “extreme opposite” was the answer.