The 'Victory' with the fleet off Stromboli, January 1805
The fifth, but seventh in order of events, in a series of ten drawings (PAF5871- 5874, PAF5876, PAF5880-5881 and PAF5883-5885) of mainly lesser-known incidents in Nelson's career, apparently intended for a set of engravings. Pocock's own numbered description of the subject in a letter of 2 June 1810 (see below) is: '5. Victory off Stromboli, Moonlight' , though it no longer looks like a night view because over-exposure to light has bleached out the blue pigments. This can be clearly seen at the edges, where a previous mount has protected the paper and the original dark blue tone. Nelson's vice-admiral's flag as commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean before Trafalgar flies from 'Victory's' foremast head. This subject, of the fleet passing the erupting volcano (the most northerly of the Lipari or Aeolian Islands, north of Sicily), was previously dated 22 June 1804: this is unlikely, since Nelson was then heading north from Malta to Naples via the Strait of Messina, arriving on the 25th. It more probably shows his fleet in late January 1805 heading south-west from Cagliari, Sardinia, towards the Strait, through which it passed southward on the 31st, looking for Villeneuve's escaped Toulon squadron at the start of the pre-Trafalgar chase. Carola Oman's 'Nelson', for example (ch. 22) specifically mentions Stromboli being seen in eruption during this passage. Pocock either took the view of the volcano from a print or a sketch by Lord Manners, to both of which he refers in related letters: though a little confusing, these suggest that this is one of two versions of the same subject which he did, leaving his unidentified client to make a choice and return the other. For the rather complex circumstances of the commissioning of these ten drawings, and the letters, see PAF5871, 'View of St Eustatius with the "Boreas" '. Signed and dated (indistinctly) by the artist, lower left.
Original size: 278 mm x 380 mm
- Image reference: PW5885
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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