Francis Sartorius (British, 1734-1804) The Action of the Arrow; The Acheron against L'Hortense and L'Incorruptible
Lot 122
Francis Sartorius (British, 1734-1804) H.M. ships Arrow and Acheron engaging two large French frigates, Hortense and Incorruptible off Cape Caxine, Algeria, 4th-5th February 1805; and the sinking of the Arrow at the end of the action
Sold for £16,250 (US$ 27,820) inc. premium
Auction Details
Francis Sartorius (British, 1734-1804) The Action of the Arrow; The Acheron against L'Hortense and L'Incorruptible
Lot Details
Francis Sartorius (British, 1734-1804)
H.M. ships Arrow and Acheron engaging two large French frigates, Hortense and Incorruptible off Cape Caxine, Algeria, 4th-5th February 1805; and the sinking of the Arrow at the end of the action
a pair, both signed 'F. Sartorius', one indistinctly dated 180?, the other dated /0? (lower right)
oil on canvas
each 44.4 x 71.2cm (17 1/2 x 28 1/16in).
(2)

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Commander (later Rear-Admiral Sir) Arthur Farquhar
    Thence by descent to the present owner

    His Majesty's sloop Arrow (Cdr. Vincent) and the bomb vessel Acheron (Cdr. Farquhar) were escorting a valuable convoy of 35 merchant vessels from Malta to England when, at daybreak on 3rd February 1805, they were sighted and chased by two 40-gun French frigates, L'Hortense and L'Incorruptible, off Cape Caxine, Algeria. Commander Vincent ordered the convoy to run for cover whilst he and Farquhar prepared to engage the enemy. In the event, the initial chase lasted all that day and through the ensuing night so that it was not until 4.45am. on 4th February that the first shots were fired. After a courageous but unequal fight, Arrow, by now severely damaged, was forced to surrender at 8.30am. and sank very shortly after her crew had been obliged to abandon ship. The little Acheron, hopelessly outgunned and almost as badly damaged, tried to make a run for it but was also forced to surrender barely 15 minutes later and was afterwards burned by her captors as being beyond salvage.

    The forlorn sacrifice of these two greatly out-gunned and out-manned ships allowed, in fact, all but three of the convoy to avoid capture and proceed safely to England. Thus, at his court-martial on 28th March 1805 Farquhar was honourably acquitted and the action was described as 'highly meritorious and deserving imitation'. On 8th April the same year he was promoted to post-captain and later awarded a sword by the Patriotic Fund as well as a piece of plate by the merchants of Malta for his conduct during the fight with the two French frigates. He continued to see active service in the Baltic and North Sea, capturing numerous privateers, and commanded naval operations in the Weser, the Ems and the Elbe, and at the capture of Glückstadt in 1814. For these services he was made a Knight of the Order of the Sword of Sweden and also of the Hanoverian Guelphic Order and, in 1815, a Companion of the Order of the Bath. From 1830 to 1833 he commanded the Blanche (48) in the West Indies as commodore and for his services there, during the slave revolt, received the thanks of the House of Assembly of Jamaica and a sword to the value of £150. He was knighted on his return to England, attained the rank of rear-admiral in 1837 and died in 1843.

    This pair of paintings was subsequently engraved by J. Jeakes and published as aquatints by G. Andrews, 7, Charing Cross, on 21st October 1805, coincidentally the very same day that Nelson was intent on avenging Arrow and Acheron at Trafalgar.

    The Lloyd's Patriotic Fund sword of £100 value and the sword of £150 value awarded to Arthur Farquhar in recognition of his part in the actions described above are to be offered in Bonhams' next sale of Antique Arms and Armour to be held at Knightsbridge on 30 November 2011. His medals and decorations, as well as those his son, are to be offered in Bonhams' For Valour sale to be held at Knightsbridge on 28 September. For more information please contact David Williams on (44) 20 7393 3807 or email david.williams@bonhams.com'
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