A First-Rate Shortening Sail
A flagship, on the right, is shown either letting fly her sheets to reduce speed or, perhaps in contradiction to the modern title, shaking out sail to proceed. There is some doubt about the identity of this ship, although it is probably the 'Britannia', 100 guns, the only first-rate in commission in the Admiralty list at the date of the painting. If so, she is shown as flagship of Sir John Norris, Admiral of the Fleet and Commander-in-Chief in the Channel in 1735, with the Union flag flying at the main and the red ensign from the stern. A gun is firing a salute from the bow. The decks are full of sailors and several figures are shown climbing the shrouds.
- Image reference: BHC1039
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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