The Death of Lord Robert Manners (at the Battle of the Saints, 12 April 1782)

A representation of the fatal wounding of Captain Lord Robert Manners in the ‘Resolution’, 74 guns, at the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April 1782. The wounded Manners is support by six of his crew on the deck of the ‘Resolution’. In the background, the wheel-house is partly obscured by gun-smoke. This print was engraved by John Keyse Sherwin after an original painting by Thomas Stothard, which is now at Belvoir Castle, the seat of the Manners family. Stothard was a history painter and book illustrator. His painting of Manners’s death was a speculative, profit-seeking venture with the print-publisher Thomas Macklin. On 29 June 1782, Macklin published an advertisement in the newspaper ‘Parker’s General Advertiser’ soliciting subscriptions for ‘a print of the death of Lord Robert Manners…to be engraved by Mr. John Keyse Sherwin, from a capital Picture…by Mr. Stothard.’ Nine months later, in March 1783, Stothard’s painting was exhibited to the public at Mr Haynes’s, Cockspur Street, London. Admission was one shilling, or free for those who subscribed to receive Sherwin’s print, which was eventually published on 15 August 1786. This commercial venture sought to capitalise upon Manners’s posthumous celebrity, his death having attracted considerable public attention. Lord Robert Manners was son of the military general John Manners, Marquess of Granby, and grandson of John Manners, third Duke of Rutland. He entered the navy at the age of fourteen in April 1772 and rapidly ascended through the ranks, thanks in large part to the influence of his family. Attaining post-rank on 17 January 1780, he was given command of the ‘Resolution’ and gained a reputation as an aggressive captain. At the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April 1782, the ‘Resolution’ opened fire at quarter past eight in the morning, engaging nine or ten of the Frenchs ships. Half an hour into the action, Manners was simultaneously struck by a cannonball and a large splinter, the former shattering both his legs and the latter wounding his right breast and fracturing his right arm. He was carried below, where the ship’s surgeon amputated his left leg above the knee. Manners initially survived these injuries but subsequently succumbed to ‘a locked jaw’ – a symptom of tetanus – during the voyage back to England. He was 24 years old at the time of his death. His body was buried at sea on 24 April 1782. (Updated April 2019.)

Object Details

ID: PAH7817
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Macklin, Thomas; Sherwin, Charles Stothard, Thomas
Events: American War of Independence: Battle of the Saints, 1782
Date made: 15 Aug 1786
People: Manners, Robert
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Sheet: 530 x 667 mm; Mount: 606 x 835 mm

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