Vaughan Grylls Home

large artwork

About the Work

Whereas Kennedy embodied the spirit of America for Americans, Mountbatten, for the English, was the quintessential Englishman. His checklist of attributes was formidable - war hero, World War II Supreme Commander, last Viceroy of India, elder member of the royal family, rich, handsome, charming. His murder at the hands of the Irish Republican Army in September 1979 sent shock waves through the British nation.
If the site of Kennedy's assassination was humdrum, the site of Mountbatten's assassination was quite the opposite - Donegal Bay on the West Coast of Ireland. I found the setting of his murder incongruous, yet I also saw incongruity in fact that a distinguished relative of the Queen of England should have been living in southern Ireland at all, let alone a few miles from the border with Northern Ireland, an incongruity unnoticed in Great Britain.
On the left of the picture, standing on the horizon, is Classiebawn Castle, Mountbatten's summer home. The fishing village on the promontory is called Mullaghmore. Lord Mountbatten kept his boat 'Shadow V' in the harbour there. A bomb was secreted aboard the night before the assassination. At 11.45 am on August 27, 1979, Mountbatten and his family were aboard 'Shadow V' off the headland when the explosion took place. The boat disintegrated. It is believed that the assassins sat in a car on the high ground above the village waiting for the boat to round the headland. They detonated the bomb by remote control when 'Shadow V' sailed into view.
Although the sea had seen the catastrophe while land remained unaffected, I tried to give the work poignancy and truth by reversing these elements so that the land as rock and framework for the event would appear in turmoil while the sea would remain impassive. I took the photographs of this unhappy post card view on the first anniversary of the assassination.

″I still use the same approach to my work: I get an idea, think of the title and then make the work. So not much has changed since 1964″

Copyright ©2024 belongs to Vaughan Grylls