Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I. R. "Ike" Lloyd -- WW II Submarine Portraitist

I see that has been just a bit more than a year since I produced any words for this little blog. No excuses. But since I'm here this would be a good time to bring up a new mystery I'm trying to solve.

I recently acquired two original paintings of World War II submarines. They were produced by a man named I. R. "Ike" Lloyd who was in the design department at Mare Island Shipyard during the war.

I thought it would be interesting learn more about Mr. Lloyd. After quite a bit of internet searching and talking and corresponding with museum curators in California and Washington DC, I am learning only bits and pieces.

Even more extraordinary: I have been unable to locate any other of Mr. Lloyd's original paintings. Prints of various ship paintings created by Mr. Lloyd show up occasionally on internet auction sites.

But no original paintings.

Here is what I know: Mr. Lloyd worked in the design department at Mare Island and resided in Vallejo for about 10 years. Sometime after WWII, he was divorced and moved to Key West, Fla, where he passed away in 1956. While at Mare Island he created numerous paintings in oil, guache and tempura of various ships, mostly submarines. And he drew ships for caches, shellback documents (a certificate attesting to a sailor having crossed the equator the first time) and at least in one instance, an invitation to a ship christening. And, for a time, he operated "Lloyds of Vallejo" on Hichborn Street where he created ship mementos.

The list of submarines he painted is a long one. To mention a few, Gato, Permit, Sailfish, Archerfish, Trigger, Wahoo, Argonaut, and Pompano. The first Lloyd item that shows up on Google is his painting of the USS Bailey in a firefight at the Battle of Komandorski Island. Prints of this battle, many autographed by sailors, show up once in a while.

In 1944, Lloyd also had a couple of his submarine paintings shown at the City of Paris department store in San Francisco. A brief article in the San Francisco Chronicle said: "Mr. Lloyd . . . received permission from Washington at the outbreak of the war to make a series of Navy paintings which are being kept on record in Washington." The second part of that sentence brought me into contact with the curator of the Naval Art Museum in Washington DC. Lloyd's name does not show up in their inventory of naval art.

So, Mr. Reader, I have two major questions:

- What happened to Mr.Lloyd after his move from Vallejo and why did he quit painting?

- Where are his original paintings?

If you have any clues, you know where to reach me. I'll be right here.

The two paintings I have are of Gato (SS-212 ) and (perhaps) Trigger (SS-237). That's the Gato in the accompanying picture.