Action between HMS 'Blanche' and the 'Pique', 5 January 1795 by John Thomas Baines

Action between HMS 'Blanche' and the 'Pique', 5 January 1795

John Thomas Baines

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Action between HMS 'Blanche' and the 'Pique', 5 January 1795

This painting, by English artist John Thomas Baines (1820-1875), refers to an incident between the British frigate 'Blanche' and the French vessel 'Pique' off Guadeloupe in the early hours of 5 January 1795. In the course of the violent and extended action the English captain, Robert Faulknor, was killed, but the demasted 'Pique' finally had to surrender. The painting, which is signed and dated, shows the 'Pique' in a port-broadside view, totally demasted, her bowsprit lashed to the 'Blanche's' stern, shown port-quarter view on the left of the 'Pique'. The 'Blanche' is firing through her stern windows, raking the 'Pique', which still wears her ensign on the staff. The 'Blanche' has only her foremast standing and is towing the 'Pique' before the wind. By focusing on the two ships in the middle ground, but reducing the depiction of human activity aboard the vessels, and by merging the calmly rippled sea and the cloudy sky in a grey tonality as a backdrop, the artist manages to portray the devastation of the scene effectively.
John Thomas Baines

  • Image reference: BHC0478

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