A £3 MILLION collection of oil paintings by Hampshire’s greatest marine artist, Montague Dawson, is being sold this month.

They include a £120,000 picture, The Stricken Kelly, which features the ill-fated Hampshire warship HMS Kelly, commanded by Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

She was bombed and sunk, with half her crew killed, during the Battle of Crete in May 1941.

The story of the Portsmouth-based HMS Kelly, commanded by Lord Mountbatten, who lived at Broadlands, Romsey, inspired the 1942 film, In Which We Serve, starring Noel Coward and John Mills.

Two other Dawson paintings – The Silver Moon-Nocturne and Trimming The Sails – will be offered for sale at £375,000 and £200,000 respectively.

Several other Dawson pictures in the forthcoming sale have strong Hampshire themes.

They include West Solents Yachtsman’s Wind, which is for sale at £85,000.

West Solents were designed and built in the early 1920s at the Berthon Boat Company in Lymington. Only 38 of these rare yachts were built, 32 for sale in the UK, a further five went to Argentina and one other to India. They were a popular class in many regattas until the 1950s.

The three West Solents featured in the Montague Dawson painting have all survived.

The 20 Dawson paintings are on sale now at the MacConnal-Mason Art Gallery in London’s West End.

The gallery is owned by former BBC Antiques Roadshow expert, David Mason.

In his foreword to the sale catalogue, Mr Mason says: “Montague Dawson is, to my mind, quite simply one of the greatest of marine painters who made the age of sail his own thus redefining maritime art and inspiring a generation in the process.”

Dawson was born on September 19, 1890, and lived at Smugglers House, Hythe, on Southampton Water before he moved, in 1934, to Milford-on-Sea where he produced some of his finest pictures.

He was so passionate about the sea and sailing he named his daughter Nyria after a J-class yacht.

Dawson died at Western Hospital, Southampton ,on May 21, 1973, and was buried at Boldre church, near Lymington.