The Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805

(Updated, February 2018) In the centre right of the painting is the British ship ‘Colossus’. Her guns are shown firing into the French ‘Argonaute’ in the foreground to the right. Beyond and to the left of the ‘Colossus’ and partially masked by her is the stern of the Spanish ‘Bahama’ whose colours are being struck. A union flag has been placed over her side just aft of her mizzen shrouds. Astern of her and nearly bow on is the ‘Swiftsure’, an ex-British ship which had been captured by the French in 1801 and is now about to be recaptured. Across the foreground floats the wreckage of spars and sails. The painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1849, no. 152, and later turned into a lithograph by J. Needham. It is signed with a detailed inscription on the back which may be that reproduced in the RA catalogue, listing ships involved. This remains to be checked but other instances show it was normal practice for artists to put title labels on the back of paintings submitted for the annual RA show which, on their acceptance, were then transcribed for the printed catalogues. This room for error in this process explains misreadings or misspellings sometimes found in the latter.

Object Details

ID: BHC0555
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Nibbs, Richard Henry
Events: Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Trafalgar, 1805
Date made: Mid - Late 19th century; 1848-1849 1848-49
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Painting: 635 mm x 915 mm; Frame: 741 x 1021 x 70 mm

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