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Art Marine

HMS Sutherland's Last Battle - Oil on canvas by Geoff Hunt RSMA.

HMS Sutherland's Last Battle - Oil on canvas by Geoff Hunt RSMA.

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Original painting in oil on canvas.

Canvas size 22 x 30 inches. Overall frame size 28 x 36 inches.

Signed lower left.

This superb battle scene is inspired by the story of CS Forester's novel A Ship of the Line

Captain Hotatio Hornblower in action with four enemy ships of the line off Rosas

Hornblower was given command of HMS Sutherland, a Dutch-built 74-gun ship of the line, as a reward for his exploits aboard HMS Lydia. His first orders were to escort an East Indian convoy off the Spanish coast. He successfully defended the convoy from simultaneous attack by two faster, more maneuverable privateers.

Since Hornblower had been forced to sail with an understrength crew and had to make do with "lubbers, sheepstealers, and bigamists", he broke admiralty regulations and impressed twenty men from each vessel in the convoy just before they parted ways. With his ship fully manned, Hornblower wreaked havoc on the French-controlled Spanish coast. He captured a French brig by surprise, stormed a French fort, took two more vessels as prizes, repeatedly fired upon several thousand French soldiers marching along a coastal road, and saved his Admiral's ship from certain ruin by towing it away from a French battery during a severe storm.

When Sutherland encountered a squadron of four French ships of the line which had broken through the English blockade of Toulon, Hornblower attacked them against overwhelming odds and managed to disable or heavily damage all of them.

Geoff Hunt's superb painting depicts this battle in all its dramatic intensity.

With many of his men killed or wounded and his ship dismasted, he was forced to strike his colours and surrender. The tactical loss of HMS Sutherland enabled the strategic victory of dismasting and blockading the French squadron.

The enemy ships were later destroyed by the squadron commanded by Admiral Sir Percy Leighton, who himself was killed in action while attacking the French ships.

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