Four frigates capturing Spanish treasure ships, 5 October 1804
Four Spanish frigates with a rich shipment from Montevideo headed for Cadiz. The cargo was ultimately destined for France and therefore potentially for use against the British. Four British frigates lay in wait to capture them and the two squadrons met on 5 October. The senior British commander Captain Graham Moore asked the Spanish Admiral to surrender. When he refused, action commenced, and within ten minutes the Spanish 'Mercedes' had blown up with the loss of all but one officer and 45 men. Half an hour later the Spanish ships 'Medea' and 'Clara' both surrendered. The Spanish 'Fama' tried to escape but also surrendered after she was chased by the British 'Lively'. Sartorius has arranged the eight ships of the two opposing squadrons across the canvas in pairs. In the right foreground the 'Lively fires into the 'Clara'. Ahead of them is the exploding 'Mercedes' with the stern of the British 'Amphion' beyond her. To the left and ahead the British 'Indefatigable' and Spanish 'Medea' on the right are in close action. Beyond them the British 'Medusa' and Spanish 'Fama' are also firing at each other. The painting is signed and dated 'F. Sartorius 1807'.
- Image reference: BHC0535
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection
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