Robert Strickland Thomas (British, 1787-1853) H.M.S. Queen, Flagship of Vice Admiral Sir Edward Rich Owen, Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean fleet, leaving Malta
Lot 32
Robert Strickland Thomas
(British, 1787-1853)
H.M.S. Queen, Flagship of Vice Admiral Sir Edward Rich Owen, Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean fleet, leaving Malta
£30,000 - 50,000
US$ 48,000 - 81,000

Lot Details
Robert Strickland Thomas (British, 1787-1853)
H.M.S. Queen, Flagship of Vice Admiral Sir Edward Rich Owen, Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean fleet, leaving Malta
signed and dated 'R.S.Thomas R.N. px. 1842.' (lower right)
oil on canvas
70 x 105cm (27 9/16 x 41 5/16in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Sale, Lyon & Turnbull, Edinburgh, 6 December, 2002, lot 77
    with Richard Green, London
    Private collection, UK


    H.M.S. Queen was, if for no other reason, a significant vessel in the history of the Royal Navy since she was the very last sailing battleship to be completed before the advent of steam. Initially ordered as a 120-gun First Rate, she was extensively redesigned to accommodate 110 guns before building commenced and her keel was laid at Portsmouth in November 1833. Originally to be called Royal Frederick, she was re-named in honour of the new Queen when virtually finished and launched on 15th May 1839. An enormous three-decker of 3,099 tons, she measured 204 feet in length and was armed with ten 8-in. guns and one hundred 32-pounders. In almost continuous commission for nearly twenty years, she was part of the fleet sent to the Black Sea during the Crimean War (1854-56) where she distinguished herself at the first bombardment of Sebastopol on 17th October 1854 even though she was set on fire three times and eventually forced to withdraw from the action. Despite the Anglo-French alliance during that war however, subsequent Admiralty mistrust of French intentions resulted in a warship modernisation programme during 1858-59 with Queen amongst those vessels selected for improvement. The work was carried out at Sheerness and by the time she was undocked there on 5th April 1859, she had been converted to screw propulsion thanks to the installation of a 500h.p. Maudslay engine whilst at the same time being cut down in size to a two-decker mounting 86 guns. Now capable of steaming at 10½ knots yet with a much reduced crew, she was promptly commissioned into the Mediterranean Fleet where she remained until 1864. Returning home to be paid off, this marked the end of her sea-going career and she was broken up in 1871.

    Admiral Sir Edward Rich Owen, G.C.B. (1771-1849), the son of a naval captain and the brother of Vice-Admiral W.F. Owen, was born in Wales and entered the Royal Navy under the patronage of his godfather Sir Thomas Rich in 1786. After serving in several ships on various stations around the world, he joined the 74-gun Culloden in January 1793 just before the French declaration of War with England. Made Lieutenant that November, he joined the Hannibal and thereafter served with the blockading fleet off Cadiz during which time he transferred between a number of ships. Largely for his loyal services during the famous Mutiny at the Nore in 1797, he was promoted post captain the following year. In May 1802 he was appointed to the command of the French prize frigate Immortalité and, in her, made his name for his many daring attacks on Napoleon's invasion force as it lay in the French channel ports awaiting orders. Moved to the 38-gun Clyde in March 1806, by which date the danger of invasion had passed, he was sent to work off the Low Countries and played a notable role in the siege of Flushing in August 1809.

    By 1811 he was in command in the Gulf of Mexico but was back in the North Sea in 1813 and, in 1814, was sent to command the naval forces on the Canadian 'Great Lakes' during the final phase of the Anglo-American 'War of 1812'. Returning home in February 1816, he was given command of the principal royal yacht Royal Sovereign. Knighted the same year, further advancement followed when he was promoted Rear-Admiral (1825), appointed Surveyor-General of the Ordnance (1827) and made a member of the Lord High Admiral's Council (1828). From 1828-32, he was C.-in-C. East Indies and thereafter C.-in-C. Mediterranean (1841-45). Receiving his final promotion to Admiral in 1846, he died on 8th October 1849, aged seventy-eight.
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