The Wreck of the Gloucester off Yarmouth, 6 May 1682

This oil painting, attributed to the English marine painter Monamy Swaine, shows the wrecking of the ‘Gloucester’ on 6 May 1682. While conveying the Duke of York to Leith, the ship ran aground on the Lemon and Oar sandbank off Yarmouth, with the loss of one hundred and thirty lives. The ship is shown listing to port, her sails and rigging flapping in the strong wind, and her stern lashed by huge waves. Numerous figures pour off her port side onto the safety of dry land and a rowing boat full of passengers pulls away from her bows. Behind her, left, another ship is on a starboard tack, while several other vessels are visible in the background, right. According to W. Laird Clowes, the loss of the ship might have been part of a deliberate attempt to engineer the death of the Duke of York (‘The Royal Navy – a history’, Vol. 2, p. 457). M.S. Robinson considers that if this picture does show the stern of the ‘Gloucester’, the ship must have been rebuilt about 1680, because the royal arms are small and between two rows of stern windows. Robinson also judged that the ship may have derived from a picture by Van de Velde.

Object Details

ID: BHC3370
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Swaine, Monamy
Vessels: Gloucester (1654)
Date made: Late 18th century
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Painting: 1524 mm x 762 mm; Frame: 1647 x 964 x 70 mm

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