The Capture of Martinique (palm trees to right)
About the work
A much larger painting by Thomas Luny titled ‘Battle of Martinique’ is currently on display at the National Trust property Berrington Hall, Herefordshire, and is dated 1786. The Berrington Hall painting, which is dominated by four ships enveloped in the smoke of their own cannon fire, represents one of two naval engagements at Martinique, fought during the American War of Independence on 18 December 1779 and 17 April 1780.
This is one of three later paintings (see also GAC 6428 and 6430), each representing a different stage in the process of capturing the island. They were probably painted shortly after the British takeover of 1794.
Luny painted numerous British naval engagements. Most of his compositions are thought to be based on engraved images or written descriptions of events. However, it is possible that he had joined the Royal Navy by the time of the capture of Martinique in 1794 and so witnessed these events himself.
About the artist
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.
Thomas Luny (1759 - 1837)
- The Capture of Martinique (palm trees to right)
- Oil on canvas
- height: 60.00 cm, width: 90.00 cm
- Purchased from Gooden & Fox, May 1964
- With Appleby Bros., London; from whom purchased by Gooden & Fox, London, in November 1963; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in May 1964
- GAC number