HMS Victory, Nelson’s Great Cabin - Deidre Henty-Creer, 1950
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Overall: 63cm (24.7in) x 73.5cm (28.3in)
Oil on canvas. Interior view of Nelson’s Day Cabin from the admiral’s Dining Cabin as it appeared circa 1950. Signed lower left ‘Deidre Henty-Creer’. Framed.
The Day and Dining Cabins were part of Admiral Lord Nelson’s Great Cabin complex aboard the flagship HMS Victory. The Day Cabin was partitioned off from the Dining Cabin where Nelson met with captains of the Mediterranean Fleet on his 58th birthday, 29 September 1805, to ensure they fully understood how he expected them to fight and defeat the Combined Fleets of France and Spain. Unlike the fabled Band of Brothers who fought with him at the Battle of the Nile in 1798, many of Nelson’s Trafalgar captains were unfamiliar to him and by the means of this famous face to face meeting he was best able to express his strategic and tactical thinking. The Day Cabin by contrast was where Nelson spent up to seven or eight hours a day overseeing the administration of the Mediterranean Fleet, the space being well served by the light of the seven stern windows.
The 104-gun first-rate ship of the line Victory was laid down in 1759 and launched in 1765. She is most famous as Lord Nelson's flagship but she also served as Keppel's flagship at Ushant in 1778; Admiral Howe’s flagship at Cape Spartel in 1782 and Jervis's flagship at Cape St Vincent in 1797. She served as a harbour ship at Portsmouth from 1824. In 1922 she was moved into dry dock. She is the flagship of the First Sea Lord and is the oldest naval ship in commission.
Deirdre Henty-Creer, FRSA, (1918-2012) was born in Australia into a naval family, originally from the Isle of Man. She was the daughter of Lt-Cdr R.C. Creer, RAN, and his wife Eulalie Henty, the grand daughter of a prominent Western Province politician. Her parents divorced in 1927 and she came to England with her mother who changed the family name to Henty-Creer. Her brother Henty Henty-Creer, who worked as a cameraman (The Four Feathers (1939); The Thief of Bagdad (1940); 49th Parallel (1941)), was commissioned in the RNVR and lost his life in 1943 when serving as commanding officer of the midget submarine X-5 during Operation Source - the attack on the German warship Tirpitz moored in Kaafjord, northern Norway. Between 1940-45 Deirdre Henty-Creer worked as an accredited artist to the Ministry of Information. She later exhibited at the Royal Academy, The New English Art Club and Royal Society of British Artists, The Army Art Society and numerous commercial and provincial galleries. She was a Committee Member of the Armed Forces Art Society; a member of the United Society of Artists and the exhibiting society known as the Ridley Art Club. Her first single artist exhibition took place at the Fine Art Society, Bond Street in 1943 and her second at the Cooling Gallery in 1946.