Circle of Edwin Weedon (British, 1819-1873) The launching of H.M.S. “Royal Sovereign” at Portsmouth, 25th April 1857 71 x 122cm. (28 x 48in.) unframed

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Lot 126
Circle of Edwin Weedon
(British, 1819-1873)
The launching of H.M.S. “Royal Sovereign” at Portsmouth, 25th April 1857 71 x 122cm. (28 x 48in.) unframed

£ 6,000 - 8,000
US$ 7,900 - 10,000

Marine

13 Sep 2005, 14:00 BST

London, New Bond Street

Circle of Edwin Weedon (British, 1819-1873)
The launching of H.M.S. “Royal Sovereign” at Portsmouth, 25th April 1857
oil on canvas
71 x 122cm. (28 x 48in.)
unframed

Footnotes

  • Little is known of the work of Edwin Weedon, other than he worked for the Illustrated London News for over 35 years and a print of this subject bearing the initials 'E.W.' was published by the ILN.

    At the time of her launching in 1857, H.M.S. “Royal Sovereign” was one of the largest wooden ships-of-the-line ever constructed and her subsequent career turned her into one of the most curious vessels in the evolution of the modern battleship during that vigorous transitional era between “Warrior” (1861) and “Dreadnought” (1906).

    Laid down in Portsmouth in December 1849 and designed as a sailing three-decker, “Royal Sovereign” was converted for screw propulsion before completion and, when launched, had been fitted with an 800nhp. Maudslay engine which, on her trials in Stokes Bay in August 1858, achieved a speed of 12¼ knots under steam alone. Measured at 3,756 tons, she was 252 feet in length with a 60 foot beam and carried a mixed armament of 131 guns of varying calibre including a single massive 110-pounder. Despite her immense firepower, she was placed in reserve when completed and saw no active service at sea until, in 1862, it was decided to convert her into an ironclad turret ship. Cut down to a single-decker with only 7 feet of freeboard, her 3 foot-thick wooden hull was then sheathed in 5½in. iron plate and her traditional broadsides replaced by three single and one twin deck-mounted centre-line turrets each mounting 10½in. muzzle-loading guns. Commissioned at Portsmouth on 7th July 1864 and now displacing 5,080 tons, this extraordinary hybrid became the Royal Navy’s first vessel to carry her main armament outside her hull and the only turret ship ever to be built of wood. Even though she soon became obsolete due to rapid technological changes in iron shipbuilding, her nine-year operational life (until laid up in 1873) nevertheless made a valuable contribution to the development of naval gunnery and her name became synonymous with experimentation in the transitional battlefleet of the third quarter of the nineteenth century.
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