Commemoration of the XIVth February MDCCXCVII (Battle of St Vincent, with 21 cameo portraits of naval officers)

A print commemorating the British victory over the Spanish fleet at the Battle of Cape St Vincent on 14 February 1797. The upper part of the print is an allegorical composition designed by the history painter Robert Smirke. Britannia stand on top of a stone plinth with a lion at her side. She holds up laurel crowns in both hands. An array of naval trophies, including flags and cannons, are arranged behind the base of the plinth. In the background, a naval engagement takes place, generating vast plumes of smoke. The front of the plinth is hung with portrait medallions depicting the flag officers of the British fleet at the Battle of Cape St Vincent. John Jervis, first Earl St Vincent, is at the top, above Charles Thompson, William Waldegrave, first Baron Radstock, and William Parker. The lower part of the print takes the form of a fictive stone tablet, lettered in the centre ‘Commemoration of the XIVth February MDCCXCVII’ and set around the edges with the portraits of the captains of the fleet. Top row, left-right: Thomas Lenox Frederick; Charles Henry Knowles; Cuthbert Collingwood; James Hawkins Whitshed; Horatio Nelson; Robert Calder; James Richard Dacres; James Saumarez; and George Murray. Bottom row, left-right: John Sutton; Thomas Troubridge; George Martin; Thomas Foley; George Grey; George Henry Towry; Ralph Willett Miller; and John Irwin. The portrait of Horatio Nelson, who was a commodore at the time of the battle, is placed in the centre of the top row and raised slightly above the other captains’ portraits. The portraits were engraved by James Parker and the allegorical figures by William Henry Worthington. This print was published by the print-publisher Robert Bowyer in 1802–3 as part of a set of four double-elephant-sized engravings, grouped under the title ‘Commemoration of the Four Great Naval Victories’. These four prints commemorated the major British naval victories of the 1790s: the Glorious First of June (1 June 1794), Cape St Vincent (14 February 1797), Camperdown (11 October 1797) and the Nile (1–3 August 1798). All four followed the same format, combining an allegorical composition by Smirke with portrait medallions of the flag officers and captains of the victorious fleets. For impressions of the other prints in the set, see: PAH5661, PAI5461 and PAH5671. (Updated April 2019).

Object Details

ID: PAH5668
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Parker, J; Worthington, William Henry Smirke, Robert Bowyer, Robert
Events: French Revolutionary Wars: Battle of Cape St Vincent, 1797
Date made: 1 Jun 1803
People: British Admirals, British Admirals; British Captains, British Captains
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Sheet: 758 x 520 mm; Mount: 834 x 606 mm

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