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Maps and prints of naval engagements collected by George III

Nicholas Pocock (1740-1821)

Barcelona, 1801

To the Right Honourable Earl Spencer (late First Lord of the Admiralty) this PRINT representing / the Boarding and taking of his Catholic Majesty's Xebecque Frigate EL GAMO, by His Majesty's Sloop SPEEDY, Commanded by the Right... published 21 Oct 1802

Aquatint with engraving and etching; printed on paper; the paper backing brought round the edges of the recto | 46.1 x 59.5 cm (image) | RCIN 735096

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A view of the boarding and taking of the Spanish xebec El Gamo by H.M. sloop Speedy, commanded by Captain Lord Cochrane, off Barcelona, 6 May 1801. French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802): Anglo-Spanish War (1796-1802).

The upper-case letters of the title are engraved in outline and the rest of the text in the title is faintly engraved, suggesting that this may be a proof impression.

This was one of the early, daring, actions in which Captain Thomas Cochrane (1775-1860; later 10th Earl of Dundonald) took part as a commanding officer. The Speedy was a slight ship of 158 tons while the Spanish frigate was 600 tons. Cochrane was seriously out-gunned (the Spanish had thirty-two heavy guns to his puny fourteen 4-pounders) and outmanned (he had 90 officers and men to the Spanish 319 men. However, his firing was accurate, and the Spanish fire went over his small ship.

This view shows the Spanish xebec (a frigate-type of Mediterranean sailing ship) El Gamo in the foreground of this view with the fierce fighting of the British, armed with cutlasses. On hearing the British order for more cutlass-armed men to be sent on board the El Gamo, the Spanish surrendered.

Cochrane led a colourful life and was in 1814 convicted of having played a part (of which he was innocent) in the great Stock Exchange scandal, in which the key culprit was de Bérenger, the cartographer of RCIN 735076.1.a.

  • Nicholas Pocock (1740-1821) (artist and publisher) [bottom left, below edge of view:] Drawn by N. Pocock; [bottom centre, below title and to each side of vignette:] Published Oct:r 21.st 1802 by N: Pocock Great George Street Westminster.

    Robert Pollard (c. 1755/6-1839) (engraver) [bottom right, below edge of view:] Engraved by R. Pollard

    John Wells (active 1784-1809) (aquatinter) [bottom centre, below edge of view:] Wells Aquatinta.

    George John Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer (1758-1834) (dedicatee)

  • Watermark: None on print; backing paper: J WHATMAN [date cropped]

    Condition: no fold lines. Verso: surface dirt

  • 41.0 x 59.5 cm (neatline)

    46.1 x 59.5 cm (image)

    48.3 x 63.8 cm (platemark)

    50.6 x 66.0 cm (sheet)

  • Printed title:

    To the Right Honourable Earl Spencer (late First Lord of the Admiralty) this PRINT representing / the Boarding and taking of his Catholic Majesty's Xebecque Frigate EL GAMO, by His Majesty's Sloop SPEEDY, Commanded by the Right Hon. Captain / Lord Cochrane after a close Action of One Hour and ten Minutes off Barcelona at Noon on the 6,,th of May 1801 Is most respectfully Dedicated. [bottom, below view, to each side of a vignette of a distant view of ships, perhaps off the coast of Barcelona, framed, on the left, by an oak tree, and on the right, by an olive branch]

    Additional text:

    [bottom left, below title, a note of the number of guns (32) and men (309) [not counting officers] of the el Gamo; bottom right, a note of the number of guns (14) and men (54) [not counting officers] of the Speedy.]

    Annotations:

    (Recto) [bottom left, black pencil:] XV-96; [bottom left, black pencil:] 20. (Verso) [bottom left, black pencil:] 156.a; [bottom right, black pencil, obscured by paper backing:] 1b [or 6] f.

    George III catalogue entry:

    Naval Engagement View of the boarding and taking the Spanish Xebecque Frigate el Gamo, by H.M. Sloop Speedy commanded by Captain Lord Cochrane, off Barcelona, on the 6.th of May 1801: by N. Pocock, engraved by Pollard and Wells, 1802.

  • From the collection of military and naval maps and prints formed by George III (1738-1820)

  • Subject(s)

    Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain (41°23'19"N 02°09'32"W)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    A. Lambert, 'Cochrane, Thomas, tenth earl of Dundonald (1775–1860)', Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, first published 2004; online edition 2012.

    H. Parker, Naval battles from the collection of prints formed and owned by Commander Sir Charles Leopold Cust,  With an introduction by C.N. Robinson, London, 1911, no.156.a

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