The bombardment of Alexandria on 11th July 1882 was the Royal Navy's response to a drift towards anarchy in Egypt which threated Britain's controlling interest in the Suez Canal. A powerful combined Anglo-French squadron under Admiral Sir Frederick Seymour had been despatched to the area in May 1882 but just as it arrived off Alexandria, the French ships received orders to withdraw. Seymour nevertheless issued his ultimatum to the Egyptians for the abandonment of their fortified postions and, when they refused to comply, he ordered the bombardment to begin at 7a.m. on 11th July. By the time the firing ceased at 5.30p.m. all the forts had been silenced although it proved a hollow victory as a full-scale British expeditionary force had be be sent to Egypt to police the country shortly afterwards.
For a fuller account of the affair, see Christie's Maritime catalogue, 6th November, 1997. lot 540.