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In August 1938 Ravilious visited the beautiful Suffolk seaside town of Aldeburgh. There he painted a group of unusually vivid watercolours, inclusing two studies of the town’s idiosyncratic bathing machines and this exuberant picture of a lifeboat. This craft, named the Abdy Beauclerk after a keen yachtsman who had died twenty years earlier, had been launched in May 1932 by Prince Albert (the future George VI). She went on to enjoy a long and distinguished career, carrying out the first rescue of World War II on 10 September 1939 and subsequently taking part in the Dunkirk evacuation.
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