WILLIAM LIONEL WYLLIE (BRITISH, 1851-1931)
Motor Launch 'ML141'
Signed 'W.L. Wyllie' (lower left) and signed on verso by John Wyllie
Watercolour heightened with gouache
11 x 17¼in. (28 x 44cm.)
A new vessel type when introduced in 1915, these motor launches quickly proved versatile workhorses being used for mine sweeping, mine laying, anti-submarine operations, patrols and smoke screens etc. Nearly 600 were built by various yards - initially displacing 34 tons then 37 tons, they were 80 foot long with a 12¾ foot beam and 4 foot draught. Powered by petrol engines they could develop 20kts but also had a habit of catching fire and more were lost to accident than the enemy. They paved the way for the more famous MTBs used in World War II. ML141 survived the War without incident so it is assumed this picture was commissioned by one of her crew.