Attack on Goree, 29 December 1758

The island fortress of Goree lay off Dakar on the west coast of Africa. Its position gave the French a base from which to menace the English trade route to India and the East. It was therefore strategically important for the English to capture it every time they were at war with France. On the occasion recorded in this painting, the task was entrusted to Commodore the Honourable Augustus Keppel, who had been sent out after Commodore Marsh’s failure against Goree in May 1758. Against Keppel’s more powerful squadron the French surrendered the after a short bombardment. Goree was returned to French control at the conclusion of peace in 1763.

The island with its mole on the right occupies the left background. Visible over the mole are the upper galleries and spars of the ‘Nasau’ and ‘Dunkirk’, engaging the batteries to port. Astern of them is the ‘Torbay’, also bombarding the mole. Beyond her and to the right is the ‘Prince Edward’ with smoke and flame issuing from her stern caused by a shot early in the action which blew up an ammunition box, killed two marines and sent the ensign staff over the side. In the right foreground a transport ship is at anchor starboard bow view disembarking troops for a landing. Astern of her is the ‘Fougueux’ port quarter view, sailing in towards the mole, and in the background beyond her two bomb ketches are in action. In the left background is another transport at anchor, almost stern on. One of a pair with BHC0388, this shows the island being retaken by Admiral Keppel.

Object Details

ID: BHC0386
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Display - Atlantic Gallery
Creator: Serres, Dominic
Events: Seven Years' War, 1756-1763
Date made: Late 18th century
Exhibition: The Atlantic: Slavery, Trade, Empire; War and Conflict
People: Royal Navy; French Navy
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Painting: 609 mm x 1067 mm; Frame: 745 mm x 1205 mm

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