The red brick building of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich is here seen on a hill in the distance. Below the observatory is the Royal Hospital. To the immediate right of the Hospital, a darker building represents the ruins of the Old Palace.
This painting bears a label, which refers to two naval engagements:
‘HMS "Pomone" (40 guns) off Greenwich. Commodore Sir John Borlase Warren sailing down the Thames to join Admiral Lord Bridport for the Quiberon Bay expedition and the action off Groix’
Naval officer John Borlase Warren commanded a squadron which captured three French frigates off the coast of France in 1794. One of these frigates was the ‘Pomone’. In the following year, Warren was put in command of ‘HMS Pomone’ and ordered to accompany an expedition of French Royalist troops, travelling to Quiberon Bay, on the northwest coast of France.
The Second Battle of Groix took place on 23 June 1795, when a British fleet of 14 ships under the command of naval officer and politician Alexander Hood, Viscount Bridport chased a French fleet of twelve ships from southwest France towards the Île de Groix, an island off north-western France. The British fleet captured three ships before breaking off the action.
Thomas Luny, marine painter, apparently studied with the artist Francis Holman in London. He exhibited mostly at the Royal Academy, where he showed his work every year from 1780 to 1793. He showed nothing after 1793 until 1802, when he exhibited 'Battle of the Nile', and then nothing until the year of his death, when he exhibited three pictures. It is possible that in 1793 he joined the Royal Navy to fight in the French Revolutionary Wars. Luny retired to Teignmouth in Devon, in about 1810, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. In spite of being crippled by arthritis in both his hands and his legs for over 30 years he continued to paint assiduously and his total life's work is thought to have produced some 3000 pictures.
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