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Art Marine

Sophie and Camilla - Commissioned oil on canvas by Geoff Hunt RSMA.

Sophie and Camilla - Commissioned oil on canvas by Geoff Hunt RSMA.

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During the broadly Nelsonic period, the Royal Navy possessed two ships named Sophie and Camilla whose careers overlapped, Sophie being an ex-French privateer (sometimes referred to in her log as La Sophia) captured in 1798 and serving until 1809, and Camilla a standard 6th-rate 20-gun ship of the Sphinx class, built in 1776 and ceasing to be an active unit about 1814. They were both ship-rigged and of a very similar size and armament, though the hulls showed quite different design styles, Sophie reflecting her original quasi-piratical character and Camilla that of a typical British all-purpose warship.

Both had active careers that took them to places as far apart as the East and the West Indies, but these careers coincided in one year, 1800, when both served as convoy escorts on the Newfoundland run, each doing two such runs. It almost appears as if they alternated in this duty, so they were not usually in the same place at the same time, except for some frustrating near-misses (for example in September when Camilla sailed from St John's four days before Sophie arrived). However, there was indeed one period when they were together, both being moored in Spithead from 25th February to 4th March, Sophie sailing on the 4th and Camilla on the 6th. 
 
The location in the painting is the Solent, the first days of March in 1800. The Isle of Wight is to the left, several fishing boats in the distance, and a line-of-battle ship at anchor to the right, over towards Portsmouth. Both Sophie (left) and Camilla (right) are under sail, Sophie running with the light breeze and Camilla hove-to on the starboard tack. 
 
Geoff Hunt

 

Oil on linen canvas, commissioned for English clients

whose daughters are Sophie and Camilla...

Canvas size 24 x 36 inches

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