The Battle of the Glorious First of June - George III Enamelled Box, South Staffordshire, 1794
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Width: 4.6cm (1.8in)
Over painted transferware decorated enamelled copper. The white body with black and gilt pelleted dog tooth banding, the hinged lid with a border of the same design around a ships-of-the-line in action and the legend 'The Glorious Victory of Earl Howe / 1st June , 1794’. Mirrored interior to the lid.
The Battle of the Glorious First of June, also known as the Battle of Ushant or the Battle of Brest was the first fleet action of the French Revolutionary Wars. It was fought between the Royal Navy's Channel Fleet under Admiral Lord Howe and the French Atlantic Fleet, that had recently mutinied and been purged of four admirals and 71 captains by officials from Paris. The battle was the culmination of a month long campaign by Lord Howe to intercept strategically important grain convoy from the United States. The Royal Navy suffered 1200 casualties but no ship losses, while the French had one ship sunk, six captured and suffered 4000 casulaties. Both sides claimed victory, the French on account of the vital convoy reaching France.
Enamelled boxes of this type were decorated by transfer printing, which involved taking an impression from an inked engraved metal plate coated, reversing it and applying it to the enamel box. The technique was developed in Battersea under the tutelage of Sir Stephen Theodore Janssen, sometime Lord Mayor of London, at York House in Battersea. The Battersea production ceased in 1756 owing to bankruptcy whence production moved to South Staffordshire.