The Birth of the Ark Royal, 1950

This photograph of the HMS Ark Royal was taken by E. Chambré Hardman from the top of Holt Hill, Birkenhead on April 1st, 1950. The ship had just been painted white, as part of preparations for its launch from the Cammell Laird shipyard by the Queen Mother.

The picture was retouched - the white washed gable end nearest the camera was eliminated by the application of coccine nouvelle (a red dye) to the positive transparency, as it detracted from the contrast of the ship. He also painted out an unwanted lamp-post and increades the height of one of the schoolboy’s socks to bring it up to the same height as the other.

“I was trying to recreate what I had seen, to produce an effect, and anything that goes against the effect I want, I rule out.”
- E. Chambré Hardman, 1983.

The copyright of the image belongs to the National Trust.

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Thank you to Duncan Mackay.