To the memory of Captain Gardiner... of His Majesty's Ship Monmouth who Attack'd and took the Foudroyant a French Ship of War, on the 28th Febry 1758 in the Mediterranean...

This representation dramatically depicts the engagement that closed the Battle of Cartagena on 28 February 1758, with Monmouth and Foudroyant heavily damaged and firing at each other under a moonlit sky. The ‘Foudroyant’ is shown on the left of the picture in port broadside view, with ‘Monmouth’, to windward, placed centrally port bow on. Both ships have lost their mizzen masts, whilst Foudroyant’s mainmast is in the process of toppling. On the right, wreckage in the foreground, and the supporting British ships Swiftsure and Hampton Court in the background both lead the eye towards the combatants.

This picture is extremely similar to the undated oil by Francis Swaine also in the NMM collection (BHC0383, which contains a fuller contextual description and is accompanied by an image), all the main compositional elements – the relative positions of the lead ships, the presence in the background of those supporting, the wreckage at front right – being repeated almost verbatim. If anything, Swaine’s depiction fractionally advances the action, showing Foudroyant’s main mast as all but completely gone; the wreckage, and positioning of the Swiftsure and Hampton Court are also handled differently. Nevertheless, it is clear that one picture is directly dependant on the other. In the absence of further precise evidence, there is no certain way of determining precedence. However, as Paton’s oil was painted and reproduced within a year of the incident, logic suggests it is the earlier of the two, given that no engraving after Swaine has as yet been located dated pre-c.1770.

PAH7695 and PAI6288 appear to be duplicates.

Object Details

ID: PAH7694
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Canot, Pierre Charles; Willock, R. Paton, Richard
Vessels: Monmouth (1742); Foudroyant (1750) Swiftsure (1750) Hampton Court (1744)
Date made: 14 Feb 1759
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: 403 mm x 595 mm; Mount: 606 mm x 836 mm

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