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Art Marine

Closing In - John Christian

Closing In - John Christian

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The British had maintained a blockade off Malta since 1798, under the command of Rear-Admiral Lord Nelson. 

By March 1800 Nelson was residing ashore in Palermo, leaving Captain Manley Dixon in charge of the blockade on board 64 gun HMS Lion and Captain Sir Edward Berry commanding of his flagship, the 80-gun HMS Foudroyant.

On 30 March 1800 at 23:00hrs, with wind from South, the 36 gun frigate HMS Penelope, under Captain Henry Blackwood, noticed the French 80 gunship Guillaume Tell leaving Valletta under cover of darkness.

Blackwood sent word to the squadron positioned around the island and gave chase. Penelope gained and pulled up under Guillaume Tell’s stern, and the Frenchman realised that to stop and engage would give time for the squadron to catch up, so tried to outrun the frigate.  By staying on the stern of the Frenchman, Blackwood by morning had disabled Guillaume Tell with minimal damage to Penelope.  The Frenchman had lost her main and mizzen topmasts and spars, allowing  HMS Lion and HMS Foudroyant to catch up from the South.  The Frenchman was captured and subsequently taken into the British Navy service as HMS Malta.

Original watercolour on paper signed lower right. 

Image size: 15.5 x 11.5 inches
Mount size: 20 x 16 inches
Frame size: 23 x 19 inches

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