USS Augusta in Narragansett Bay, 2 May 1941, a watercolor painting by the marine artist Ian Marshall. The scene shows the heavy cruiser USS Augusta (CA 31) on the day that Admiral Ernest J. King broke his four-star flag in Augusta as Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. The ship is moored to a buoy on the Jamestown side of the bay (that is, near Conanicut Island, visible to the left), Admiral King’s preferred location; the Naval War College and a signal tower next to Pringle Hall are in the distant background (to the right), and two ship’s boats are approaching—perhaps from the Newport, Rhode Island, fleet landing or from other ships—to join three already riding to a boom. The cruiser was to be in Newport nearly continuously until January 1942, when King became Chief of Naval Operations. The tower and the tall antennas visible beyond the College complex were removed in the 1960s and ’70s.
The painting was commissioned by the Naval War College Museum, using funds provided by the Naval War College Foundation, to record a local scene not otherwise visually recorded in the Museum’s collections. The painting, delivered on 29 September 2008, hung in the Museum’s “Predators and Guard Dogs: An Exhibit of the Works of Ian Marshall” from 12 February to 30 June 2009 and then joined the permanent collection, in a new display case installed through the generosity of Robert Alvine’s gift to the Foundation and Museum.
Born in Fife, Scotland, and originally trained as an architect, Ian Marshall lives today on Mount Desert Island in Maine. He is the author of five books illustrated by his meticulously accurate historical ship paintings, and his work hangs in the permanent collections of many museums in the United States and Europe.
Volume 62, Number 4