The Battle of the Glorious First of June, 1794; the 'Defence' (?) and 'Le Vengeur' by Nicholas Pocock

The Battle of the Glorious First of June, 1794; the 'Defence' (?) and 'Le Vengeur'

Nicholas Pocock

Fine art poster

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Pegasus (1776)
Part of the Pegasus (1776) Collection
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The Battle of the Glorious First of June, 1794; the 'Defence' (?) and 'Le Vengeur' by Nicholas Pocock zoom

The Battle of the Glorious First of June, 1794; the 'Defence' (?) and 'Le Vengeur'

Pocock was almost certainly present at the Battle of the First of June on board the 'Pegasus' (Captain Barlow), one of the frigates in Howe's fleet which served to repeat his signals during the battle, from an observing position to windward. A number of sketchbooks have survived filled with rapid sketches of it. Those which show the close engagement, like this, are the best representations we have of the impenetrable fog of gunsmoke in which sea battles were fought, and of which later paintings recording them give a very false impression. In being present as a 'war artist' Pocock was following the precedent of the elder Van de Velde some 140 years earlier, and it is the first instance we know of a professional artist accompanying a fleet with that intention since that time. He subsequently made paintings of the battle, which he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1796 and 1797. One of these, showing the duel between 'Brunswick' and 'Vengeur', is in the Museum's collection (BHC0471) and this may, in fact, be what is shown here since it is not clear why the British vessel on the left has hitherto been identified at the 'Defence'.
Nicholas Pocock

Original size: 140 mm x 201 mm

  • Image reference: PU8704

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More by the artist Nicholas Pocock.

Explore the collections All art and photography, Fine art, Pegasus (1776).