The night sky glows with a soft, eerie moonlight as two ships simultaneously fire their cannons, leaving clouds of smoke lingering on the water.
The artist of this work, Richard Barnett Spencer, is known to have copied from engravings and paintings by fellow marine painters, sometimes adapting the originals to create unique compositions. This work is almost an exact copy of a painting by Thomas Buttersworth titled 'Sea Battle' (with Cider House Galleries Ltd in 2014). Butterworth's painting is, according to Cider House Galleries, 'believed to be HMS Amelia capturing the French Privateer Juste'. This work also relates to Buttersworth's painting 'A Smuggler Chased by a Brig' (National Maritime Museum, Greenwich).
Marine painter and British ship portraitist Richard B. Spencer may have been the brother of W. B. Spencer, who painted similar subjects. Both artists painted sea battles, like this one, sometimes copied from works by other artists. Richard did not exhibit his work in London, but tended to work directly for private patrons. He is known to have copied from engravings and paintings by other artists, adapting the originals and adding his own unique style.
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