Dazzle ship

ship painted in bright contrasting colours

From 13 June 2014

Canning Graving Dock, opposite the Museum of Liverpool

Dazzle Ship is a co-commission by 1418 NOW WW1 Centenary Art Commission, Liverpool Biennial and Tate Liverpool, in partnership with the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Renowned artist Carlos Cruz-Diez worked with the idea of dazzle using the historic Edmund Gardner pilot ship owned and conserved by the Merseyside Maritime Museum. The work has been realised by painters from Cammell Laird. 

The title of the work is 'Induction Chromatique à Double Fréquence pour l’Edmund Gardner Ship / Liverpool. Paris, 2014'. 

Over the summer the quayside next to the dazzle ship is open 10am-5pm every day for visitors to get a closer look at the Edmund Gardner.

Guided tours 

See behind the scenes on the ship from the engine room to the wheelhouse in our free guided tours. Tours are held at 11am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August and September - see the What's on section for details.

Each tour lasts one hour. Meet in the Museum of Liverpool entrance foyer.

Places are limited so advance booking is essential, telephone 0151 478 4545.

Please note that the ship has uneven surfaces, steep stairways and low steps, meaning it is not fully accessible and unable to accommodate wheelchair users, pushchairs or prams. Please wear appropriate sensible footwear for a safe and enjoyable visit.

painting of a ship painted with a geometric design in contrasting colours

'Mauretania in dazzle paint' by Burnett Poole

Dazzle painting

The commission transforms the historic pilot ship the Edmund Gardner into a ‘dazzle ship’, using a painting technique introduced as a way of camouflaging ships during the First World War. Dazzle's contrasting stripes and curves create an optical illusion that break up a ship’s shape and obscure its movement in the water, making it difficult for enemy submarines to identify and destroy.

Painted in bright colours and a sharp patchwork design of interlocking shapes, the spectacular dazzle style was heavily indebted to Cubist art. The inventor of dazzle painting, Norman Wilkinson, was influenced by avant-garde British painters such as Wyndham Lewis and David Bomberg. 

The Edmund Gardner pilot ship is situated in Canning Graving Dock opposite the Museum of Liverpool.

It will be returned to the original livery in late 2015 and the attention the vessel will receive during the project will help in her long term preservation.

Further information

Transforming the dazzle ship

Watch the Edmund Gardner being transformed into a dazzle ship in this timelapse video, courtesy of Liverpool Biennial.

Timelapse: Dazzle Ship from Liverpool Biennial on Vimeo .

See photos of the Edmund Gardner being painted and artist Carlos Cruz-Diaz visiting the ship in our gallery below.

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