Eurich’s enigmatic composite painting of land and naval forces massing off the South Coast before D-Day gives an impression of brooding calm before the storm.The dark belt of trees across the centre of the painting obscures the transition from land to sea. The roads end in barriers of smoke or barbed wire and the only way forward is into the unknown, through the huge jaw-like hold-doors of the central ship. Camouflage netting, smoke screening and the camouflaged shipping all contribute to the sense of secrecy and hidden strength conveyed by the painting.Eurich was a marine painter living near Southampton and was very familiar with this part of the coast, overlooking the Isle of Wight. He was a salaried war artist with an honorary commission of Captain in the Royal Marines and would have been able to paint from his own observations. His wartime style has been compared to the sixteenth century Flemish painter Pieter Breughel whose work shows a similar attention to distant detail and purposeful activities. Indeed, the gaping ship’s doors seem to echo Breughel’s Mouth of Hell, making a visual equation between war and hell which agrees with Eurich’s Quaker background and beliefs.


  • Title: Preparations for D-Day
  • Creator: Eurich, Richard Ernst (RA)
  • Date Created: 1944
  • Location: Southampton Water, Hampshire, England, UK
  • Physical Dimensions: w1270 x h762 mm (unframed)
  • Provenance: © IWM (Art.IWM ART LD 4587)
  • Type: painting
  • External Link: Imperial War Museum website
  • Medium: oil

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