Towards the end of the Second World War Brenda Rawnsley and her husband Derek had the idea of bringing contemporary art to young children who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to see ‘good’ work. Within a few years Brenda had set up School Prints Ltd to sell original lithographs to schools and had commissioned several of the most important living artists for her scheme.
Brenda Rawnsley sought the advice and assistance of the art historian Herbert Read and between them they chose the artists. The printing was undertaken by the Baynard Press from stones or zinc plates drawn by the artists, who were asked to use no more than six colours. The prints, being original lithographs, were often the first real art seen by young people of that period and are typical of their time.
Couderc studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montpellier and at the École des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. He was a co-founder of the École de Sète and was the curator of the Musée Paul Valery. In 1949 he received the Palme Academique, and in 1979 he was named Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur. Much of his work is of Mediterranean scenes near his home in Sète. Ships in Sète shows a Fauvist influence on his use of colour. He increasingly evolved a geometric, structured style which is shown in this print with its solid blocks of colour and hard edges to the boats and buildings.