The capture of the Resistance and Constance by HMS San Fiorenzo and Nymphe, 9 March 1797

Two British frigates were reconnoitring the French fleet at Brest on the morning of 9 March 1797 when they met with a large French frigate and a corvette. They were part of a French squadron of four returning from an unsuccessful attempt to land troops on the Welsh coast at Fishguard in an abortive attempt to destroy Bristol and attack Liverpool. The two British frigates were prizes captured from the French, the ‘San Fiorenzo’ commanded by Captain Sir Harry Burrand Neale and ‘La Nymph’ commanded by Captain John Cooke the French ships they encountered were the ‘Resistance’ and ‘Constance’. Hostilities broke out between them and the ‘Resistance’ soon struck, to be followed by the surrender of the ‘Constance’. There were no casualties on the British side, although the French lost 18 killed and 15 wounded.

In the centre of the picture is the French ship ‘Resistance’ with her ensign and pendant being lowered as she surrenders. To the port of her the British ‘San Fiorenzo’ is still firing her starboard guns. To the right and beyond this pair is ‘La Nymph’ partly masking the French ‘Constance’ which is still fighting. The copper liberty caps on the main-trucks of the Frenchmen are plainly shown. In the background is the French coast around Brest.

Object Details

ID: BHC0495
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Pocock, Nicholas
Events: Napoleonic Wars, 1803-1815; French Revolutionary Wars: Capture of Résistance and Constance, 1797
Vessels: Constance (1794); Nymphe (1777) Resistance 1793 San Fiorenzo fl.1794
Date made: Late 18th century - Early 19th century
People: Royal Navy; French Navy
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Macpherson Collection
Measurements: Frame: 960 mm x 1333 mm x 115 mm;Overall: 25 kg;Painting: 762 mm x 1118 mm

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