Prince George of Wales in Command of Torpedo Boat 79, 1889
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Overall: 30.5cm (12in) x 37.5cm (14.7in)
Bodycolour heightened with scratching out on paper. Signed Fred T. Jane. lower right. image: 14.5cm (5.7in) x 22.5cm (8.5in). Framed and glazed.
In July 1889 the future King George V was appointed to his first command, Torpedo Boat 79, in home waters. HM TB 79 held the speed record for torpedo boats and was deemed a very stable platform for firing torpedos when manoeuvring. She was commanded by Prince George during the Annual Manoeuvres of 1889. His father, Edward VII, believed that the navy was ‘the very best possible training for any boy’. Accordingly he despatched his sons Princes Albert Victor and George to the cadet training ship HMS Britannia at Dartmouth in 1877. For three years from 1879, the princes served as midshipmen on HMS Bacchante of the Detached Squadron. In 1880 during a visit to Japan, George acquired the dragon tattoo on his arm. A work similar in style to this example by William Heysman Overend (1851-1898) can be found in the Royal Collection.
John Fredrick Thomas Jane (1865-1916) is best remembered for founding the naval register ‘Jane’s Fighting Ships’ in 1898, which is still published annually by the open-source defence analyst Jane’s Information Services. Fred T. Jane was also an accomplished maritime artist whose works were widely published. In 1909, he created ‘All the World's Aircraft’. He was also involved in politics, standing as an Independent candidate for Portsmouth in the 1906 general election. When the Liberal candidate Edward Hemmerde, KC, was nominated in 1910, he persuaded a sailor to ask him to pledge a supply of hammock ladders should he be elected. Hemmerde fell for it and gave the pledge at a public meeting. Jane also kidnapped the socialist MP Victor Grayson.