Farewell to Nelson. Nelson is seen leaving England at Portsmouth on September 14th 1805

Signed by artist in plate. A print after the painting, ‘ “Farewell to Nelson”, Portsmouth, Sept. 14, 1805’, by Andrew Carrick Gow. Exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1904, the painting anticipated the first centenary of Nelson’s death as an occasion for national celebration. Nelson is shown descending the wooden steps at Portsmouth alone as he prepares to board the ship’s boat to be conveyed to his flagship, ‘Victory’. Preoccupied with the impending battle, he looks fixedly ahead and ignores the admiring crowd. Behind and above, the cheering crowds, held back by soldiers with bayonets, applaud and wave as they observe Nelson’s last walk on dry land. A girl scatters flower petals from the top of the steps. Although Gow places the scene at the usual point of departure, the Sally Port, this was probably incorrect owing to the pressure of the crowd. The sailors in the boat hold up the long oars to salute their admiral. The top of the picture is dominated by the looming presence of the battery wall, with the Union flag above the crowd underscoring a nationalistic reading.

The print is a photogravure, which is a photographic image produced from an engraving plate to create a look combining photography with lithography. It is inscribed, ‘Nelson is seen leaving England at Portsmouth on 14 September 1805. Rather more than a month later he won the Battle of Trafalgar against England’s enemies but died in the very hour of victory’. In another version of the print the artist, a painter of genre and military subjects, has signed the plate of the photogravure, see PAI5832.

Object Details

ID: PAI5758
Collection: Fine art
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Gow, Andrew Carrick; Landeker & Brown Gow, Andrew Carrick
Places: Unlinked place
Date made: circa 1906
People: Nelson, Horatio
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: 695 x 433 mm

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