Signed watercolour by Anthony Gross dated 1942. Painted on wove paper, the paper has slightly ruckled and discoloured with age. On the verso the artist has written an explanation of the scene in pencil and there are remnants of glue residue along the margins, else very good.
Sheet size 37 x 55cm (14.5 x 21.5 inches)
‘Island of Fouad’
Opposite Tortosa (Tatous) these were two Phoenician fortified strongholds. They are still building schooners according to ancient methods leaves are cut with an axe following______ line. Heavy timbers are sawn by two handed saw each placed one above, one below. The wood employed is cedar-which no longer exists. The inhabitants live by fishing, selling schooners and running contraband.’
The place is now called ‘Tartus’ but was called Tortosa by the crusaders is on the coast in Syria. It is a little confusing as there is a place called ‘Fouad’ in Egypt but Tartus does have a small island opposite the main land, Citadel of Arwad, and as Anthony Gross states, was originally a Phoenician fortified strongholds.
In 1941, with a temporary commission of captain, Gross was attached to the 9th army and painted within the Egyptian, Syrian, Palestinian, Kurdistan, Lebanese, and Mesopotamian theatres of war, sometimes accompanied by other war artists.