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Battle of St.Vincent - ‘The Distinguished Action Of The Gallant Nelson.' 1797
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Battle of St.Vincent - ‘The Distinguished Action Of The Gallant Nelson.' 1797

Measurements: Overall: 70cm (27.5in) x 83cm (32.5in)



Mezzotint after Henry Singleton. Made and published by James Daniell (c.1771-c.1814) of Great Charlotte Street, Blackfriars Road, London 1797. Inscribed with dedication ‘To the Right Honorable the Earl & Countess of Spencer, This Distinguished Action of the Gallant Nelson’. Image size: 50cm (20in) x 65cm (25.5in). Contained in original glazed ebonised oak frame.

Admiral Lord Nelson with drawn sword in his raised right hand, his left hand on the pistol in his belt, facing attack from a seaman with curved sword. In 1797 the Royal Navy secured two of its greatest victories - St. Vincent in February and Camperdown in October. Yet, between these two dates the navy passed through a serious crisis of fleet mutinies at Spithead and The Nore. 1797 also saw the rise to fame of Horatio Nelson, whose dramatic action at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent secured victory. At the battle Admiral Sir John Jervis (later Earl St. Vincent) led a squadron of fifteen sail against a numerically far superior Spanish fleet. He fell on them off the southern coast of Portugal as they were running for Cadiz and divided their line into two parts. From his flagship, H.M.S. Victory he ordered his ships to tack in succession and prevent the gap from being closed. Nelson, last but two in the line, saw that this manouevre would not be completed in time and made a quick decision to turn his ship, H.M.S. Captain into the gap. He took on seven Spanish ships, including the Santissima Trinidad (136-guns), the largest ship in the world and two other ships, the San Nicolas and San Josef. Through a hail of pistol and musket fire he led boarding parties onto both and captured both. By nightfall four ships had been taken and ten others crippled. Admiral Jervis was generous in his praise of Nelson who was knighted (K.B.). Commodore Nelson was to fly his flag as Rear Admiral Sir HoratioNelson - the promotion had been approved before the battle but Nelson did not hear of it until after St. Vincent.