WINSTON MEGORAN FRSA 1913 - 1971
Winston Megoran was born on 31st October 1913 in Newcastle upon Tyne. By the mid nineteen thirties he had begun to make his mark, exhibiting his paintings and etchings nationwide often alongside other notable twentieth century marine artists including Charles Pears, Norman Wilkinson, Frank Mason and Montague Dawson. (Click here for sample catalogues)
Winston Megoran painting in his studio and sailing aboard his boat the Cresta
His paintings also appeared in a wide variety of magazines including the Yachting Monthly, The Navy, The Sphere, Pictorial Education, The Fleet, The Trident, War Weekly, Boy's Own Paper, the Eagle and many others. His arresting and colourful book jacket designs were employed by many of the major publishing houses including for that attractive series, The Mariner's Library, issued by Rupert Hart-Davis. Here are just a few examples:
Inside cover from the Eagle Annual 1958
During the Second World War Winston Megoran became a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force and was seconded to the Admiralty in London to provide illustrations for official publications and ship recognition books. Ranging from British warships and merchant fleets to Chinese fishing craft these accurately drawn pictures and silhouettes from varying angles of view ran into many thousands and, doubtless, helped the RAF to avoid bombing the wrong ships! This picture is one of his cartoon style training manuals designed to help aircrew remember the codes.
Winston Megoran was also a prolific watercolour painter, often having half a dozen on the go at any one time. He would first put the blank sheets of paper into the bath to soak and stretch before taking them out wet to be stuck down with brown sticky tape on individual drawing boards to dry. He would then do a wash for the sky on each, one after the other, then a wash for the sea or the land in the same way. Then, one by one, he painted in the details. When they were all finished, he bundled them up into packets and sent off them off in the mail to his agent in Birmingham for sale to the UK, North American and Canadian markets.
He also produced many original etchings and aquatints doing the whole process himself, first inscribing the picture onto the varnished copper plate (itself a difficult task), then etching it in an acid bath, painting the finished plate with the appropriately coloured inks and then rolling off each picture individually on the press he kept in a corner of his studio.
After the war he moved to Weymouth with his family where he worked in his studio overlooking Portland Harbour until his sudden death in 1971 at the age of 57.
Today, more than forty years after he died, his pictures are still in demand. This one of the J Class Yacht Irene in oil on canvas painted in 1938 was sold at auction by Christie's in New York on 26th February 2002 for $5,288.
The sheer quality of Winston Megoran's astonishing technique shines through.
Click here for an article on Winston Megoran written by the notable yachtsman, yacht designer, author and editor Maurice Griffiths
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