In this chaotic scene, wooden fragments of ships float in the water, along with several people, some of whom cling to the wreckage. The painting glows with a warm, pink light from canon fire, fires blazing on ships and in particular from the large explosion seen to the left of the composition. Smaller boats are crammed with the crew of the larger ships, who have evacuated their damaged vessels.
This painting shows Sir John Duckworth forcing his passage through Dardanelles, while facing strong Turkish resistance. Both Turkish and British ships are being destroyed in the chaotic battle and the crews, forced to abandon their ships, are seen fleeing in smaller boats. The explosion, coming from behind rocks to the left of the composition, may refer to ‘HMS Ajax’, which caught fire on 14 February, ran aground and blew up the following day, before the fleet entered the strait.
Philip James de Loutherbourg, was born in Germany, the son of a miniaturist and engraver. The family moved to Paris in 1755 where he studied with Carle Van Loo and Jean-Georges Wille, before entering the studio of François Joseph Casanova. He left Paris in 1768 to travel through France, Switzerland and the Rhineland. In 1771 he arrived in London, where David Garrick gave him control of the scenery at Drury Lane Theatre. He remained at the theatre when Sheridan took over. In 1781, he became a member of the Royal Academy. He travelled throughout the UK on sketching tours and began painting naval victories in the 1790s. In 1807 he was made Historical Painter to the Duke of Gloucester. He died in Hammersmith, aged 71.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.