Sir Peter Blake gives it the Razzle Dazzle

Mersey Ferry earns its stripes in the name of art

Written by  Angie Sammons | Follow @twangeee | Thursday, 2 April 2015 13:47

SIR Peter Blake, one of the major figures of British pop art, showed that he still had it today when his latest work was launched on the Mersey.

He and all The People of a hardy persuasion, turned up for the maiden voyage of  Everybody Razzle Dazzle, his design of wartime camouflage which covers the Mersey Ferry Snowdrop.

But nobody has missed the boat and there will be plenty of chances for the lesser great and good to experience this moving artwork, with its distinctive pattern in monochrome and colour, as it continues its service until well into 2016.

The Snowdrop the second Mersey vessel to get the dazzle treatment. Last year the Edmund Gardner was similarly decked out by the aptly named Carlos Cruz-Diez. 

All the actual daubing however has been done by painters at Cammell Lairds who, Confidential understands, just love doing this kind of thing.

Around 200 people, led by Mayor Joe Anderson and Sir Peter, boarded the boat and sailed up and down the river in the spring breeze.  

"We've got two of everything, two football teams, two cathedrals and now two dazzle ships”, said the Mayor.

Dazzle camouflage works not by concealing but by baffling the eye, making it difficult to estimate a target’s range, speed and direction. 

In World War II, each ship’s dazzle pattern was unique in order to avoid making classes of ships instantly recognisable to enemy U-boats and aircraft.

And as well as being a moving artwork, Snowdrop passengers can learn more about the history of dazzle and the role that the Mersey Ferries took in the First World War in an on-board display curated by Merseyside Maritime Museum and Tate Liverpool. 

An integrated education programme underpins the project and includes a free digital resource for schools and online commissions by artists and writers.

The work was commissioned by Tate Liverpool, 14-18 NOW: the First World War Centenary Art Commissions and Liverpool Biennial in partnership with Merseytravel and National Museums Liverpool.