H.M.S. Vengeur, one of the celebrated breed of '74's', was built at Harwich and launched in June 1810. After service towards the end of the Napoleonic Wars, she returned to Home Waters until sent to South America in June 1819 just after Captain Maitland took over her command. Recalled in 1820, she then carried Lord Beresford from Rio de Janeiro to Lisbon from where she was ordered to Naples to collect King Ferdinand I and convey him to Leghorn. Arriving at his destination on 20th December after a very stormy seven-day passage, the King invested Captain Maitland with the insignia of a Knight Commmander of the Order of St. Ferdinand and also presented him with a very valuable gold and diamond-set box. Likewise, the King ordered three thousand ducats to be distributed amongst Vengeur's crew to mark his gratitude for their contribution towards his safe deliverance from the perils of sea travel.
Captain (later Rear-Admiral) the Hon. Sir Frederick Lewis Maitland, K.C.B. (1777-1839) enjoyed a very distinguished naval career and was made Captain in 1801. Despite many more active exploits however, he is chiefly remembered as the commanding officer of H.M.S. Bellerophon, another '74', to whom Napoleon Bonaparte surrendered himself unconditionally at Rochefort on 15th July 1815 following his defeat at Waterloo the previous month. From Rochefort, Maitland took Bellerophon first to Torbay and thence to Plymouth where Napoleon was transferred to H.M.S. Northumberland for his journey into exile on St. Helena.
Also see lot 441 in this catalogue for a painting depicting a notable exploit of one of Captain Maitland's kinsmen John Maitland.