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Views of naval engagements and maps of battles

Nicholas Pocock (1740-1821)

Île de Groix, 1808

THIS PRINT Representing the THESEUS leading the Squadron near the ISLE of GROUAIS, in the face of the BREST FLEET, of Eight Sail of the Line, bearing Two Admirals Flags, Two Frigates & a Brig: Obliging them to hawl... published 23 Sep 1809

Aquatint with etching and engraving; printed on paper; hand coloured; edged with paper | 45.9 x 64.5 cm (image) | RCIN 735143

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A view of the British Squadron, led by the Theseus, preventing the French Orient squadron from joining with the Brest squadron near the Île de Groix on 21 February 1809. Napoleonic Wars (1803-15).

This view shows the Brest fleet in the foreground, with the British squadron in the middle, and the Orient squadron in the background to the left. From 1794 the French navy used the Tricolour (its colours now reversed so that blue was next to the mast, followed by white and red) for the ensign, command flag, and jack, with the pennant similarly divided into blue, white, and red. This arrangement can be seen on the French ships in this view, although the 'jack', a smaller flag flown from the bows of the ship, is not visible. The admirals' flags can be seen on the third and fifth ships from the right. The flag on the third ship, being flown from the mizzen mast is that of a rear admiral, while it is being flown from the foremast on the sixth ship, indicating a vice admiral. The rear admiral of the Brest fleet at this time was Jean-Baptiste Philibert Willaumez (1763-1845). He was, however, sailing on this occasion with rear admiral Antoine-Louis Gourdan; no vice admiral is listed.

The lettering of the dedication line is engraved in outline. The words 'G.t George Street' which appear in the imprint are so faintly engraved as to be barely visible.

  • Nicholas Pocock (1740-1821) (artist and publisher) [bottom left, below edge of view:] N. Pocock Pinx.t; [bottom centre, below title:] Published Sep. 23. 1809 by Nich.s Pocock Gt George Street Westm.r

    Joseph Constantine Stadler (active 1780-1812) (engraver) [bottom right, below edge of view:] J.C. Stadler Sculp.t

  • Watermark: J WHATMAN [date cropped]

    Condition: no fold lines. Verso: slight surface dirt

  • 41.4 x 64.5 cm (neatline)

    45.9 x 64.5 cm (image)

    49.1 x 69.8 cm (platemark)

    51.1 x 72.2 cm (sheet)

  • Printed title:

    THIS PRINT Representing the THESEUS leading the Squadron near the ISLE of GROUAIS, in the face of the BREST FLEET, of Eight Sail of the Line, bearing Two Admirals Flags, Two Frigates & a Brig: Obliging them to hawl their Wind / and preventing their intended Junction with the L'ORIENT SQUADRON, of four Sail of the Lines & five Frigates, then laying with their Topsail Yards hoisted & ready to put to Sea, at 4 o'Clock P.M. on the 21,, Feb.y 1809 / Is respectfully inscribed to CAPTAIN I.P. BERESFORD, of His Majesty's Ship THESEUS; CAPT.N SIR THOMAS HARDY, of the TRIUMPH; CAP.N BLIGH of the REVENGE & CAPT.N KERR, of the VALIANT, each of 74 Guns by N. POCOCK. [bottom, below view]

    Annotations:

    (Recto) [bottom left, black pencil:] XV.143; [bottom right, black pencil:] 3. (Verso) [bottom centre, black pencil:] 197a; [top right, black pencil:] 3; [bottom right, black pencil, eighteenth-/nineteenth-century hand?]: S&R £1.11.6.

    George III catalogue entry:

    Naval Engagement View of the Theseus leading the Squadron near the Isle of Grouais in the face of the Brest Fleet of eight sail of the Line bearing two Admirals flags, two Frigates and a Brig; obliging them to hawl their wind and preventing their intended junction with the Orient Squadron of four sail of the Line and five Frigates on the 21.st of Feb.y 1809, by N. Pocock, engraved by Stadler, 1809.

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

  • Subject(s)

    Île de Groix, Brittany, France (47°38'12"N 03°27'40"W)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    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.197.a

    W. James, ‘The naval history of Great Britain’, Cambridge Library Collection, Cambridge 1859:2011, vo.IV, pp.390-3

    Wikipedia article on Willaumez

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