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Commodore Nelson's Squadron skilfully manoeuvering (sic) against a superior French Force in 1795

Date: 1812
Dimensions:
Overall: 450 x 370 x 2 mm, 111 g
Image: 135 x 210 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Stanis Osterly
Classification:Art
Object Name: Aquatint
Object No: 00025985

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    Description
    This aquatint depicts the British ships AGAMEMNON, MELEAGER, ARIADNE, MOSELLE and MUTINE and the French ship ALCIDE is shown on fire during one of many battles that took place in 1795 during the French Revolutionary Wars. This illustration appeared in Volume XXVIII of the Naval Chronicle for 1812. This preeminent maritime journal was published twice a year between 1799 and 1818. It reported on the activities of the Royal Navy and included action reports and intelligence on various matters related to British and other navies, along with biographies of serving officers.




    SignificanceThis aquatint shows Lord Nelson's early signs of success in naval engagements. He was promoted to Commodore after successfully engaging the French during the Battle of the Hyeras Islands. He went on to become a great naval tactician, but was mortally wounded during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
    HistoryIn 1793 with the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars, Horatio Nelson was given command of HMS AGAMEMNON, and appointed to Lord Hood’s fleet, which was to serve in the Mediterranean. On 7 July 1795, whilst in company with a small squadron of frigates, AGAMEMNON was chased by a French fleet of 22 ships of the line and six frigates. Due to adverse winds, Admiral Hotham was unable to come to her aid until the following day, and the French fleet was sighted again on 13 July, off the Hyères Islands. Hotham signalled for his 23 ships of the line to give chase, and in the ensuing Battle of the Hyères Islands, AGAMEMNON was one of the few Royal Navy ships to engage the enemy fleet. The French ship ALCIDE struck her colours during the battle, only to catch fire and sink.

    Many of the other French ships were in a similar condition; AGAMEMNON and CUMBERLAND were manoeuvring to attack a French 80-gun ship when Admiral Hotham signalled his fleet to retreat. While Admiral Hotham was the subject of much criticism for ordering his fleet to retreat, Nelson was deemed to have done a good job and was soon promoted to the rank of Commodore. He went on to become the most famous naval hero in British history. On 21 October 1805, the Battle of Trafalgar was fought off the south-west coast of Spain. It turned the tide against the French Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte's threatened invasion of Britain. Under the command of Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, the Royal Navy defeated the combined French and Spanish fleets - but it came at a high price when Nelson was mortally wounded.
    Related People
    Artist: W. H. R
    Publisher: Mr Joyce Gold

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