Battle of Trafalgar

  • About the work
    Location
    Country: Japan
    City: Tokyo
    Place: British Embassy

    'Battle of Trafalgar' by Robert Strickland Thomas (1787-1853) shows the naval battle of 21 October 1805, when Admiral Nelson led the defeat of a combined French and Spanish fleet, just west of Cape Trafalgar, a headland in south-west Spain. This work shows the British fleet lined in formation, preparing to attack enemy lines at right angles. It was a tactic devised by Nelson and was an important element in the British success.

  • About the artist
    Robert Strickland Thomas entered the Royal Navy as a seaman aboard the ‘Princess Charlotte’ frigate in 1805. He was promoted to Midshipman and may have been taught to paint by the captain of the ship, George Tobin, an amateur painter who later retired to Teignmouth, South Devon, to paint with Thomas Luny. Robert Strickland Thomas took up painting to supplement his income at times when he was on half pay. He became Master’s Mate in the sloop ‘Brisk’ (1807-13), before joining the frigate ‘Creole’ to become Acting Lieutenant. He was confirmed as Lieutenant in 1815, but left the navy after contracting a disease, which left him deaf. Concentrating mainly on Royal Naval subjects, his work is reminiscent of that of Nicholas Condy.
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    Materials & Techniques
    canvas, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Title
    Battle of Trafalgar
    Date
    1835
    Medium
    Oil on canvas
    Dimensions
    height: 99.00 cm, width: 170.00 cm
    Acquisition
    Purchased from the Parker Gallery, March 1957
    Inscription
    Sd
    Provenance
    Sold through Sotheby's, London, in c.1956-57 (Lot 133); with the Parker Gallery, London; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in March 1957
    GAC number
    3754