Thomas Whitcombe (British, c.1752-1824) H.M.S. 'Shannon'capturing the U.S.S. 'Chesapeake', 1st. June
Lot 127*
Thomas Whitcombe (British, c.1752-1824) The celebrated engagement during which H.M.S. “Shannon” captured the American frigate “Chesapeake”, 1st June 1813 43.2 x 61cm. (17 x 24in.)
Sold for £24,000 (US$ 37,286) inc. premium

Lot Details
Thomas Whitcombe (British, c.1752-1824)
The celebrated engagement during which H.M.S. “Shannon” captured the American frigate “Chesapeake”, 1st June 1813
signed 'Tho. Whitcombe' (lower left), inscribed on old label on reverse 'The Shannon Frigate, Commanded by Sir Philip Broke engaging and capturing the Chesapeake American Frigate Captain Laurence Commander' (sic)
oil on canvas
43.2 x 61cm. (17 x 24in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance :- Frost & Reed.
    Richard Green.

    The epic fight between H.M.S. “Shannon” and the U.S.S. “Chesapeake” during the Anglo-American War of 1812-14 was one of the most renowned naval encounters of the nineteenth century and arguably the quickest and most decisive frigate action ever fought. Captain Philip Broke, in command of the “Shannon”, had come upon the “Chesapeake” refitting in Boston Harbour and promptly challenged her to come out and fight. At about noon on 1st June 1813, Captain James Lawrence brought “Chesapeake” out into the open sea and after a furious annihilating action lasting just fifteen minutes, was forced to surrender. After first firing two devastating broadsides, Broke led his boarding party onto “Chesapeake” but was so badly wounded that he had to relinquish his command. Casualties on both sides were extraordinarily high – 48 Americans, including Captain Lawrence, were killed and 96 wounded whilst “Shannon” suffered only slightly less with 33 dead and 50 wounded. Despite his injuries, Captain Broke survived to be rewarded with a baronetcy and enduring fame, although he never recovered sufficiently to be able to return to active service.

    This work was commissioned for and then engraved and reproduced in Ralfe’s splendid 'Naval Chronology of Great Britain' 1803 to the End of the Year 1816, published in three volumes in 1820.
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