This painting by Francis Swaine - which might be entitled three views of an 18th century warship - has a pedagogic quality about it. On the right, the two-decker is on the port tack and preparing to turn by putting her bows through the wind. The mainsail or main course is being clewed up, but the main topsail above it, and the driver on the mizzen mast, are still drawing, giving her way through the water. However, the yards on the foremast have been slackened off and the crew are struggling to control the fore course and the fore topsail. Such is the lively detail of Swaine's picture that one can imagine the sails are banging in the moderate breeze, voices are raised to give orders, and over all can be heard the shrill whistle of the bosun's pipe. In the centre, the tiller has been pushed down to turn the ship, she is nearly head-to-wind, she has lost way and is almost stationary. The yards have been swung round the masts, but the sails on the foremast are aback, while the main topsail is only just beginning to draw again. On the left, the main topsail is now drawing fully and the ship is gathering way on the new, starboard tack. Urged once by the bosun's whistle, the crew are scurrying aloft to set the sails so the ship can gather speed on the new heading. The main course is now tightly clewed up, but there is still confusion around the foot of the foremast, where officers and men are struggling to take charge of the yards and sails. Throughout the manoeuvre the staysails have remained tightly furled along the bowsprit and jibboom.
The accuracy and detail of this picture, including the change in the wind and weather portended by the clouds over the scene, clearly demonstrate Swaine's intimate knowledge of his subject. For an identical composition, see F.B. Cockett, Peter Monamy 1681 - 1749 and His Circle, Suffolk, 2000, p. 101, col. pl. 49. A slightly larger composition was sold in these rooms on 21 November 2012, lot 10 (for £27,500).