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John Christian Schetky (1778-1874)
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John Christian Schetky (1778-1874)

The battle of the Saintes, 12th April 1782

John Christian Schetky (1778-1874)
The battle of the Saintes, 12th April 1782
signed and dated 'J.C. Schetky 1863.' (lower left) and further signed, inscribed and dated 'Lord Rodney's glorious victory over/the French Fleet/under the command/of the Count de Grace [sic]/off the island/of Guadeloupe on 12th of April 1782./representation of the moment of/breaking the French line of battle/J.C. Schetky/Marine painter in ordinary to Her Most Gracious Majesty/Queen Victoria/no 11 Kent Terrace/Regent's Park' (under the mount)
pencil and watercolour heightened with white
14¼ x 26¼ in. (35.5 x 66.7 cm.)
Anonymous sale; Christie's South Kensington, 14 May 1998, lot 332.
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Lot Essay

This splendid panoramic watercolour by Schetky shows, in the centre, H.M.S. Barfleur, the flagship of Rear-Admiral Sir Samuel Hood, Lord Rodney's second-in-command, at the height of the battle. Although shielded by the dismasted Glorieux, the enemy vessel which Barfleur is engaging is probably the French flagship Ville de Paris, a huge three-decker mounting 104-guns which was subsequently forced to strike her colours and surrender to Hood.

For a fuller account of this battle, please refer to the notes which accompany the preceding lot.

Admiral Sir Samuel Hood, later 1st Viscount Hood (1724-1816) entered the Royal Navy in 1741 and first served under Rodney in 1757, by which year he had attained the rank of Captain. In command of the North American station from 1767 to 1770, he was created a baronet in 1778 and, having joined Rodney in the expedition against St. Eustatius in 1781, thereafter served with great distinction for the remainder of the American War of Independence. A Lord of the Admiralty from 1788 to 1793, he was C. in C., Mediterranean, at the start of the War with Revolutionary France, capturing Toulon in 1793 and Corsica the following year. Recalled home for political reasons, he was created Viscount Hood in 1796 and was appointed a G.C.B. in January 1815 as the French Wars drew to a close.

H.M.S. Barfleur was a powerful Second Rate of 98-guns launched at Chatham Dockyard in July 1768. Apart from her participation, usually as Hood's flagship, in six major actions against the French in the West Indies during the final two years of the American War of Independence (1781-82), she was subsequently present at the 'Glorious First of June' (1794), the battle off the Île de Groix, Brittany (1795), Jervis's victory at Cape St. Vincent (1797) and Sir Robert Calder's indecisive encounter with the enemy off Ferrol in the run-up to Trafalgar (22nd July 1805). Worn out by active service, she only outlasted her most famous commander by three years and was broken up in 1819.

John Christian Schetky was Marine Painter to three Monarchs - George IV, William IV and Queen Victoria and also to the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes.

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