Desmond Johnson : Original work

Artist photo forDesmond Johnson

Desmond (1922-2022) was born in Dartmouth and painted for most of his life. He sold his first painting at the age of 12. After leaving school he served as an apprentice at Phillips Shipyard, Noss, until during the war, he was transferred to Falmouth Docks where he took the opportunity to study at Falmouth School of Art.

Early in his working life at the shipyard, where all the British Lightships were built, he worked as a Patternmaker and later as a Draughtsman. It was there that he was commissioned to paint pictures for Trinity House of all their Lightships. Desmond was also asked to paint pictures of all ships built at the yard, which were presented to each Captain of the new vessels.

Later he was employed at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, as a technician in the science department . While there he undertook several commissions. The College has purchased some of his watercolours for their collection, as has a visiting American Ambassador.

In 1970 Desmond helped in the design of British Steel, the 59 ft ketch, famous for it’s circumnavigation of the globe by Sir Chay Blyth in 1970/71. The yacht designed by Devon-based naval architect Robert Clark, was built at the Phillips Shipyard.

Desmond painted in oil, acrylic and watercolours, mainly seascapes and ships but also his native Devon countryside. He had an abiding love of Dartmoor and captured the light and essence of the Tors beautifully. His paintings are in collections in the USA, Europe and Australia.

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