After the Battle of the Nile, in which the French fleet was destroyed, the British navy pursued two surviving French ships which hid in French controlled Malta. On the evening of 30 March 1800 the Guillaume Tell, one of the two French survivors, tried to escape, but was sighted by the Penelope, under the command of Captain Henry Blackwood, who went in chase. The arrival of the two-decker Lion, under command of Admiral Sir Manley Dixon, proved fatal for the French as she managed to slip between the Penelope and the Guillaume Tell. This tactical move was to be crucial in the battle and it is this precise moment that Dodd has depicted in the present picture. Despite a brave defence by the French the arrival of the three-decker Foudroyant, under Sir Edward Berry, led to a decisive victory for the British.