Rowland John Robb Langmaid (1897 – 1956) was born into a Navy family in Vancouver, the eldest son of Captain J Langmaid, engineer.
He himself joined the Royal Navy in 1910 and trained on the Isle of Wight. His artistic abilities led to him sketching landings in the Dardanelles, where he served aboard the battleship HMS Agamemnon.
He retired from the Navy in 1922 to paint. He was a pupil of the well-known marine artist W.L. Wyllie (1851-1931) and studied at the Royal Academy School and the Royal College of Art.
In the second world war he returned to the Navy with the rank of Lieutenant commander and he was appointed war artist in Alexandria by Admiral Cunningham (Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean) and stationed at the shore-based HMS Nile from 1941 to 1943.
He was known for illustrating Ronald Arthur Hopwood’s poem called ‘The Laws of the Navy’. The poem dates from 1896 when it was written by Hopwood to make fun of organisations and is full of cynicism and humour. The poem was recreated on bulkheads (walls within a vessel) and the poem and Langmaid's illustration was applauded by many.
Langmaid enjoyed some artistic popularity and staged exhibitions in London, New York and Paris. His work was exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Abbey Gallery and the Walker Gallery, Liverpool. The National Maritime Museum has 17 of Langmaid’s wartime paintings although he is perhaps better known for his etchings which include naval, yachting and other maritime subjects. He was known for his accuracy of detail in his work and was an accomplished engraver as well as painter in oil and watercolour, with a style similar to his teach W L Wyllie, with whom he collaborated in Sea Fights of the Great War 1914-1918. He lived in London for much of his life.
He died near Málaga on the south coast of Spain.