Charles Brooking's painting relates to the 'Voyages and Cruises of Commodore Walker', first published in 1760 by an unidentified author. The possibly autobiographical narrative of the English privateer's life and exploits includes his cruise commanding the 'Boscawen', a 'private ship of war', and her encounter with the Martinico fleet. The 'Boscawen' is successfully taking on all eight French ships at once providing Brooking with the pictorial motif. The scene, which was later engraved by Boydell, shows the 'Boscawen' in the middle ground, slightly out of the central axis, which is accentuated by the high build-up of clouds in the sky. She is surrounded by the French ships, exchanging fire with them across calm waters and already having caused one to go down. The composition's low horizon is a legacy of the 17th century Dutch tradition of seascape painting, which continued to influence British maritime art throughout the 18th century.
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Commodore Walker's action: the Privateer 'Boscawen' engaging a fleet of French ships, 23 May 1745 appears in: