Two small Royal Navy frigates
The ships mount about 11 guns a side, suggesting they are small firgates of about 26-28 guns. The ensigns of both lack the blue and Scottish saltire element in the upper quadrant, which may just be an unfinished detail. A naval lugger (possibly a launch or longboat) is in the foreground. Since Bray has signed the drawing with his usual 'ad vivum' abbreviation, it may be a scene he observed off Africa during the 'Pallas' voyage, or perhaps one closer to home just finished at sea later: for he clearly did not do everything strictly from life, as shown by his sketching subject in PAJ2025. The ship on the left flies the red ensign often signifying one on independent commission, while the white one suggests the frigate on the right is from a command under a flag officer of the white squadron. This vessel also shows a rare example of the use of a long square driver (sail) hoisted in a following wind to the peak of the lateen mizzen yard, which normally carries a fore-and aft sail. Neither ship appears large enough to be the 'Pallas'.
Gabriel Bray (1750-1823)
Original size: 113 mm x 177 mm
- Image reference: PT2030
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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