HM Frigate “Achates” off Dover

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    Thomas Whitcombe’s elegant marine painting depicts ‘Achates’, the 16-gun sailing ship of the British Navy. In the year that Whitcombe painted it, the Navy had captured the ship from the French (who called it ‘Le Milan’). The ship was eventually sold from the Navy in 1818.

    The name ‘Achates’ derives from Roman mythology: Achates was a close friend of Aeneas and accompanied the hero on his travels and adventures. His name is associated with faithful companionship and the virtue of fidelity.

  • About the artist
    Despite his accomplishments in the genre of British marine painting, few solid facts about the life of Thomas Whitcombe are recorded. He is particularly known for his extensive depictions of the Royal Navy’s participation during the French Revolution, via his paintings which were reproduced in ‘The Naval Achievements of Great Britain’, published after the wars. Based in London, Whitcombe is only known to have exhibited one painting at the British Institution (1820), but exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy from 1783 to 1824. Examples of his work are today held in numerous public collections including the National Maritime Museum and the Tate in London.
  • Explore
  • Details
    HM Frigate “Achates” off Dover
    Oil on canvas
    height: 66.00 cm, width: 91.50 cm
    Purchased from the Parker Gallery, March 1956
    GAC number