The Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805: beginning of the action

In the right foreground is the French ship ‘Bucentaure’ in starboard-bow view, with her mizzen mast and main topgallant mast shot away. In port-bow view and passing astern of her is the British ‘Neptune’, delivering raking fire. Astern of her and only half in the picture is the ‘Leviathan’ port bow view. In the left foreground the ‘Santissima Trinidad’ is shown in port bow view. Her main and mizzen masts and fore-topgallant mast are being shot away by the ‘Victory’, which is passing astern of her as she breaks the line. Only her stern, in port-quarter view, can be seen and her mizzen topmast is falling. Beyond her, also in port-quarter view, is the ‘Redoutable’ with the ‘Téméraire’s stern seen on her starboard side, the latter also engaged with the Spanish ‘Neptuno’. In the centre background is the ‘Euryalus’ frigate, in port-quarter view, and the bow of the ‘Royal Sovereign’ can be seen as she breaks the line astern of the ‘Santa Ana’, in starboard-bow view losing her main topmast. A mast and top with a yard and sail is in the water in the centre foreground.

This painting is one of a pair, the other showing the storm after the battle (see BHC0554). Buttersworth produced a number of variants of similar subjects.

Object Details

ID: BHC0553
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Buttersworth, Thomas
Events: Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Trafalgar, 1805
Date made: 1805-1842
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Painting: 570 mm x 865 mm x 22 mm; Frame: 715 mm x 1340 mm x 70 mm

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