signed with monogram (lower left), watercolour heightened with white
50.8 x 72.4cm. (20 x 28 1/2in.)
Measured at 2,694 tons, the first rate H.M.S. Trafalgar started her long life when her keel was laid in Woolwich Dockyard in December 1829. Designed as a classic three-decker mounting 120 guns, she spent 11½ years on the stocks before being finally launched before an estimated crowd of 300,000 people on 21st June 1841. First employed as flagship to the Commander-in-Chief, Sheerness, she showed her mettle in the Crimean War when she took an active role in the twelve-hour bombardment of Odessa on 22nd April 1854 and the subsequent huge bombardment of Sebastopol on 17th October the same year. These triumphs also signalled the end of the supremacy of sail however, as the great three-deckers which had successfully pounded the Russian defences had been towed into position by steamships and it had become clear to the Admiralty that the future lay with steam. Consequently, Trafalgar - like most of her contemporaries - was docked for conversion and fitted with screw propulsion in a refit lasting a year from August 1858. At the same time, she was cut down into a two-decker although lengthened 15 feet by the stern to accommodate her new 500n.h.p. Maudslay engines; the cost of £25,000 was deemed a bargain compared to the £105,000 needed for a totally new vessel. Undocked on 14th August 1859, she served four years in the Channel Fleet followed by a year in the Mediterranean before becoming Coastguard vessel at Queensferry in 1864. Last at sea with the Reserve Fleet in 1869, she was then converted to a boys training ship at Portsmouth and, when transferred to Portland in 1873, was renamed Boscawen. Finally sold out of the service in July 1906, she was broken up on the Thames after sixty-five years afloat.