The Indiaman 'Royal George' in three positions in the Downs, 1779

Three views of the Indiaman 'Royal George' in the Downs, off the east coast of Kent. The ship is depicted at anchor on the right in starboard-bow view, being approached by a Deal lugger under sail which may be carrying a pilot. In the centre she is shown getting under way in port-broadside view, with the anchor being fished, men depicted in the rigging and a good view of her elaborate figurehead. A four-oared boat is approaching from the left, the bow oarsman having left his oar to cheer the ship's departure, waving his hat. On the left the ship is shown almost under full sail, including main-royal, studding-sails, and an unusual light-weather square sail replacing her gaff driver. She is running down towards the South Foreland on the north-easterly wind. Other shipping is in the distance and both Walmer Castle (left) and Deal Castle (right) can be seen on the Kent shore, and the waterfront of Deal itself beyond the 'Royal George's' stern in the central broadside view.

The ship was an Indiaman of 758 tons, owned by Thomas Thomas, and made two voyages to India under Captain Thomas Foxall, 1778-80. On the first she was noted as finally sailing from Plymouth on 2 February 1778, arriving back in the Downs on 13 January 1780. She sailed again from Portsmouth on 27 July 1780. This painting is signed and dated 'F Holman / 1779', lower left, which suggests it may have been commissioned before (and to mark) her first voyage, which would certainly have started from London via the Downs.

It was bequeathed to the Museum by Oliver Stobart in 1984 with the slightly misleading identification as showing 'HMS Royal St George' but the ship is not a naval vessel.

Object Details

ID: BHC4171
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Holman, Francis
Vessels: Royal Saint George 1777
Date made: 1779
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Frame: 699 mm x 1446 mm x 62 mm;Overall: 14.8 kg;Painting: 635 mm x 1372 mm

Your Request

If an item is shown as “offsite”, please allow eight days for your order to be processed. For further information, please contact Archive staff:

Tel: (during Library opening hours)

Click “Continue” below to continue processing your order with the Library team.