• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7652

    Exploration and Travel

    25 September 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 15

    Captain Frederick Marryat (1792-1848)

    Attack on Rangoon, 1824

    Price Realised  


    Captain Frederick Marryat (1792-1848)
    Attack on Rangoon, 1824
    oil on canvas
    10¼ x 15in. (26.1 x 38cm.)
    10¼ x 14¾in. (26 x 37.5cm.) (2)

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    Marryat, known primarily as a novelist and author of Midshipman Easy (1829), who based his works on his adventures in the Navy, had 'commissioned the Larne for service in the East Indies, where he took an active part in the First Anglo-Burmese War. From May to September 1824 he was senior naval officer at Rangoon, and was officially thanked for his able and gallant co-operation with the troops. He was the first Royal Navy officer to use a steamship in wartime. The very sickly state of his ship obliged him to go to Penang, but by the end of December he was back at Rangoon, and in February 1825 he had the naval command of an expedition up the Bassein River, which occupied Bassein and seized the enemy magazines. In April 1825 he was appointed captain of the Tees, in which in early 1826 he returned to England, and on 26 December 1826 he was nominated a CB. In November 1828 he was appointed to the Ariadne, which he commanded at the Azores or at Madeira until November 1830, when he hot-headedly resigned on the nominal grounds of 'private affairs'' (DNB).

    He sketched and was a cartoonist and caricaturist in later life, but is not known as a painter, and the present pair of Rangoon views may possibly have been worked up from his field sketches by a professional artist. A series of six plates after sketches by Marryat supplemented Joseph Moore's Series of Eighteen Views taken at & near Rangoon (London, 1825-26, Abbey Travel 404) which illustrated the war between the Burmese and British 1824-26. Marryat's subjects covered operations from August 1824 to March 1825.

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