View of St John's Harbour, Antigua, 1805
The last, but eighth 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 (unnumbered) description of this one in a letter of 9 July 1810 calls it 'a view of St Johns Harbour Antigua taken on the spot by myself with the Fleet at Anchor - the "Curieux" Brig (in the foreground) making sail with dispatches for England. Here though there is no fighting I thought the anxiety and promptitude of Lord Nelson wou'd be exemplified, and with a Correct View of Antigua wou'd give the Whole [set] a Variety.' Nelson's 'Victory' is in stern view to the right of 'Curieux', beyond the intervening rowing boat. Pocock's personal knowledge and drawing(s) of Antigua of course dated from his time as a Bristol sea captain, ending about 1778, not that of the incident shown. This was during the pre-Trafalgar chase to the West Indies, in early summer 1805, where Nelson failed to find Villeneuve's Franco-Spanish Fleet - which had already sailed again for Europe. On 12 June he sent home the 'Curieux' from Antigua with dispatches, to update the Admiralty, before his fleet pursued. By chance, 'Curieux' distantly sighted and overtook the enemy near the Azores, realized they were heading for Ferrol in north-western Spain, not Cadiz, and brought that vital news back to Lord Barham at the Admiralty, ahead of Nelson's return. For the rather complex circumstances of the commissioning of these ten drawings, and Pocock's related letters, see PAF5871, ' View of St Eustatius with the '"Boreas" '. Signed by the artist and dated, lower left.
Original size: 278 mm x 386 mm
- Image reference: PW5884
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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