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Between two Fires - The Battle of the Nile, 1st August 1798 - Commissioned oil on canvas by Geoff Hunt RSMA

Between two Fires - The Battle of the Nile, 1st August 1798 - Commissioned oil on canvas by Geoff Hunt RSMA

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Commissioned for a client in Singapore, completed in 2022.

Oil on linen canvas, 24 x 36 inches.  

Geoff writes: Having painted the Battle of the Nile three or four times now I have built up a considerable file of material on this absorbing subject, including my own transcripts from the original ships' logbooks, but it never gets any easier to analyse exactly what went on in the opening minutes of the battle - which ships were where in the crucial minutes from about 18.20 to 18.30, not to mention sunset dropping a curtain on the proceedings at 18.44.

We are looking towards the sunset (somewhat to the right of Vanguard). From left to right (French ships underlined) we see Orion, aiming for the fifth ship in the French line and taking a long trip around the outside of Goliath (out of view to the left but in action with Conquérant ). Next is Spartiate, 74 guns. Then Zealous, the second ship into action, is anchored and in action with Guerrier, lost in the smoke beyond Audacious.

Audacious is in the act of sailing through the French line, firing at Conquérant; beyond her is Theseus, rounding the unfortunate Guerrier at the head of the line. To the right, Nelson's flagship Vanguard is just about clew up her topsails and anchor alongside the Spartiate . Vanguard was an ugly duckling. She had lost her foremast in a storm three months earlier and, with nowhere in the Mediterranean to replace a mast, had been under jury rig ever since.

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