Frames and versos
At this time (January, 2024) 20 of the 34 North Atlantic Convoy Exhibition paintings from the original, May 1950, Montreal exhibition have been located. Through the courtesy of the public institutions where they are held the known and available framed and reverse (verso) images are shown here. Despite Mollie's wishes no buyer was found to purchase the complete set after the exhibition ended in October of 1952. The set was broken up and sold off, likely soon after the close. As the pictures had not been framed for the exhibition the subsequent owners must have done so. As a result there are now a number of different frame styles in several collections from Nova Scotia to British Columbia.
In examining the versos it can be seen that many of the paintings have been numbered then renumbered. Most but not all of this renumbering is in Riordon's hand. Riordon initially, and later on Mollie and perhaps others, were altering the sequencing to conform with the written narrative in preparation for the exhibition.
Most of the exhibition panels are canvas board, purchased in Montreal from C.R. Crowley's Limited, the largest supplier of quality artist materials in Canada in the 1930's and 1940's. Their Montreal branch was located on Rue Sainte Catherine, just a short walk from Continental Galleries and from Riordon's home.
Crowley's did not sell 6" x 8" panels therefore Riordon seems to have sourced them by cutting down Crowley's 12" x 16" panels into four identical sections. The two panels I have been able to examine out of their frame evidence clear cut marks on one long and one short side. Riordon certainly favoured the 6" x 8" panel dimensions, he also painted the pictures used for the Canada's War At Sea book and many of his landscapes in that size.
The Original Narrative Description
More Naval & Maritime subjects
Eric Riordon painted many maritime and naval subjects in addition to the North Atlantic convoy paintings and a selection is presented here. All the pictures shown are larger than the 6" x 8" panels of the convoy series. None of the ships in the North Atlantic Convoy are identified by name and only a handful of all his naval paintings are known to be named. One painting has been located, of HMCS Kenogami, that was a commission from one of her commanding officers in WWII. Another picture, that of HMCS Drummondville, is held at the Naval Museum in Halifax. Riordon was familiar with both of these ships as they were occasionally together in port or on convoy escort duties. The fifth painting below, "Depth Charge Attack", was included as one of the additional larger pictures in the first 1950 exhibition. A photograph of it appeared in the Montreal Gazette the next day.
The last four paintings are of a uniform 18 cm x 23 cm dimension and were acquired as a group by the Canadian War Museum. They seem to have been painted after the war, possibly a commission for a project of some kind. The painting of HMCS Crescent is definitely post-war, she did not join the Canadian Navy until late 1945.