The Dazzle Guide to Liverpool Waterfront This Summer

Posted on 7 July 2015 by Liverpool Biennial

Liverpool: famous for The Beatles, two breathtaking Cathedrals, two premier league football teams - and now two of its very own Dazzle Ships! Commissioned as part of the nation's First World War commemorations, these two giant artworks have lit up the city's waterfront, bringing together people of all ages and bridging the gap between Liverpool's historical past and the world of contemporary art. Make the most of the Summer with our Dazzle Guide to the waterfront where there's something for everyone.

1.Take a trip on-board the Dazzle Ferry


Sir Peter Blake, Everybody Razzle Dazzle, 2015. Photo: Mark McNulty

Make the most out of the summer weather this year on-board the newly-dazzled Mersey Ferry, Snowdrop. British pop artist Sir Peter Blake, best known for designing the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album, visited the city earlier this year to offer Snowdrop a makeover inspired by the garish designs of dazzle camouflage. Entitled Everybody Razzle Dazzle, the vessel continues its service not only as a functional ferry, but a moving artwork.

Sam (11) and Dan (9) enjoying their trip on-board the Dazzle Ferry. Photo: Gareth Jones

Explore the history of dazzle camouflage throughout your 50-minute trip with the on-board exhibition. See photographs, artworks, learn about the art movements behind dazzle camouflage and discover the role Mersey Ferries played during the First World War. An experience for the whole family - make sure to ask at the ticket desk for a free kids activity sheet! Book your Dazzle Ferry ticket now from the Mersey Ferries website.

2. Stop for lunch at Tate's newly dazzled cafe

Tate Liverpool’s ‘dazzling’ new café with wall motif and flags designed by Sir Peter Blake

Snowdrop is not the only waterfront attraction to be 'razzle-dazzled' by Sir Peter Blake's iconic pop motifs! Tate Liverpool's newly redesigned café is the perfect place to refuel after returning to shore. Stay in the dazzle spirit as you eat, with Tate's new wall installation and special maritime signal flags. Kids can continue to be inspired with colouring activities, and a child-friendly menu, whilst adults can relax and enjoy one of three seasonal meal deals on offer. Don't forget to stop into Tate's shop on the way out to pick a dazzling souvenir to take home.

3. Explore Carlos Cruz-Diez's Dazzle Ship

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Induction Chromatique à Double Fréquence pour l’Edmund Gardner Ship / Liverpool. Paris, 2014 . Photo: Mark McNulty

After lunch, why not take a look round Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Dazzle Ship with one of Merseyside Maritime Museum’s free tours? Franco-Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez is one of the great figures of contemporary art, best known for his optical works using colour and patterns to create images unstable on the eye. Cruz-Diez has used idea of ‘dazzle’ camouflage to inspire his own design.


Not only is this a great opportunity to be dazzled by Cruz-Diez’s colourful transformation of the Edmund Gardner, but if your visit falls on a Tuesday or Wednesday, explore inside a real pilot cutter and learn all about the vessel’s historic importance on a free tour with Merseyside Maritime Museum. Beginning its new life as a well-loved public artwork, don’t miss the chance to delve behind the scenes from the engine room to the wheelhouse – a must for history buffs, art-lovers and kids alike!

4. View Edward Wadsworth's Dazzle Ship prints at the Walker Art Gallery



Edward Wadsworth, Dazzled Ship in Dry Dock, 1918.

Feeling inspired by the dazzle offerings of the waterfront? Take a stroll through the city to the majestic Walker Art Gallery, where they are showing a selection of dazzle prints by Vorticist painter Edward Wadsworth in this free exhibition. Wadsworth worked as an Intelligence Officer for the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during World War I, and oversaw the painting of over 2,000 dazzle camouflage vessels in Bistol and Liverpool, which inspired this series of woodcut prints now part of the Walker's collections. Find out more about the life of this fascinating artist over on our Digital Resource.

5. Learn more and play with our free digital dazzle resource



Razzle Dazzle: an interactive game allowing you to build your own dazzle ship from scratch

Don't let the fun stop there! Discover even more about dazzle camouflage and the art movements that inspired it from the comfort of your own home with our new free digital resource. It's full of fun educational activities, interactive games, and links to key stages of the national curriculum. Build your own ship from scratch, dazzle it and watch it sail! Or why not put your imagination to the test with some dazzle-inspired creative writing - what would it be like to be a nurse or soldier fighting on board the Dazzle Ship? Keep the kids learning during the holidays with endless activities to spark their curiosity, and look out for the free dazzle app coming later this summer.

The Dazzle Ships are commissioned by Liverpool Biennial, 14-18 NOW: First World War Centenary Art Commissions and Tate Liverpool, in partnership with Merseytravel and National Museums Liverpool. 

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