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Napoleonic Wars (1803-15)

Views of naval engagements and maps of battles


View of Sagone Bay, 1811 (Anse de Sagone, Corsica, France) 42°06'42"N 08°41'42"E

published Jul 1812

Aquatint with etching and engraving; colour printed on paper; hand coloured; edged with paper | 47.5 x 62.2 cm (image) | RCIN 735163.a

A view of three British frigates attacking French transport ships in the Bay of Sagone on 1 May 1811. Napoleonic Wars (1803-15). Proof copy.

One of three views; the companion prints are at RCIN 735163.b and c.

This view shows the beginning of the action by three British ships: the Pomone (38-gun frigate), Captain Robert Barrie (later Sir Robert; 1774-1841); the Unité (the former French 40-gun frigate Imperieuse, captured by the British in 1793 and renamed in 1802), Captain Chamberlayne; to the left of the view, Scout (a Cruiser-class 18-gun brig sloop), Captain Alexander Renton Sharpe (d.1860; not promoted to captain until 2 January 1813; Vice-Admiral 30 October 1855).

The scene shows the British firing on three French ships which were nestled under the protective fires of the batteries under the martello tower, clearly seen in the middle background. The French ships carried a cargo of timber which was destined for the French naval yards at Toulouse. After ninety minutes, two of the French ships, the Giraffe and Nourrice caught fire, setting fire to the merchant ship which was with them. The loss of the timber delayed construction of new French ships by several months.

The British frigates are flying the white ensign from the gaff-peak; a new four-cornered sail - the spanker - had been introduced in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. It was suspended at the top by a wooden pole known as the gaff, and held at the bottom by another wooden pole known as the boom. This new sail got in the way of the old ensign staff and so the ensign, where a ship was rigged with a spanker, was hoisted from the peak of the gaff, as shown clearly in this view.

Additional text: [bottom left, left of title:] PROOF.

For further reading, see:
T.L. Brock, 'Sir Robert Barrie', Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.

Condition: one fold line (only visible on verso); some brown spots to both sides.
  • George Andrews (active 1794-1813) (publisher) [bottom centre, below edge of view, above title:] Published July 1812, by G. Andrews, Marine Print Warehouse; 7, Charing Cross, London.

    Daniel Havell (d. 1826) (artist)

    Robert Havell (1769-1832) (artist) [bottom right, below edge of view:] Engraved from an original Drawing by R. & D. Havell


    Unité (HMS)
    Pomone (HMS)
    Royal Navy
  • Watermark: J WHATMAN [date not visible]

    Condition: one fold line (only visible on verso); some brown spots to both sides

  • 42.1 x 62.2 cm (neatline)

    47.5 x 62.2 cm (image)

    51.3 x 68.5 cm (platemark)

    54.0 x 71.4 cm (sheet)

  • Printed title:

    TO THE CAPTAINS, OFFICERS & CREWS, OF HIS MAJESTY'S SHIPS POMONE, CAPTAIN BARRIE, / UNITÉ, CAPTAIN CHAMBERLAYNE, & SCOUT BRIG, CAPTAIN SHARPE. / Plate 1,,st 6, o'Clock PM, Representing the Squadron under the orders of Capt,,n Barrie, towing into Sagone Bay to attack a French Squadron / advantageously moored close to the shore, & under the protection of the Batteries, Martella Tower, &c, 1,,st May 1811. / Is respectfully Dedicated by their much obliged very humble Serv,,t / George Andrews. [bottom, below view]

    Additional text:

    [bottom left, left of title:] PROOF.


    (Recto) [bottom left, black pencil:] XV-163-a. (Verso) [bottom left, black pencil:] 212.a.(1); [top right, black pencil:] 15; [centre, black pencil:] 1811-15.

    George III catalogue entry:

    Naval Engagement Three Views of H.M. Ships Pomone, Captain Barrie, Unité, Captain Chamberlayne, and Scout Brig, Captain Sharpe; attacking and destroying the Batteries and a Squadron of French Ships in Sagone Bay, on the of May 1811: engraved by Havell and published by Andrews, 1812.

  • Subject(s)

    Anse de Sagone, Corsica, France (42°06'42"N 08°41'42"E)

  • 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.212.a

    T.L. Brock, 'Sir Robert Barrie', Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

Page revisions

  • 8 June 2024