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Naval Engagements & Events

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Dutch-English battle
A. Rooland. "De Schlagt tussen de Hollandse Fregatte en de Engelse Fregatte den 30 May 1781 op de Hoogale van de Caap St. Marie geschiet is." Augsburg: Georg Balthasar Probst, ca. 1781. 11 x 16. Engraving by G.M. Probst. Original hand color. Trimmed close to image and text. Some old creases and chipping; expertly conserved and lined with rice paper.

Another naval vue d'optique print, this showing a sea battle during the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War (1780-1784). On May 29, 1781, two Dutch frigates, the Castor and Den Briel, on their way to escort a Dutch fleet, ran into two English ships, the Flora and the Crescent. The Dutch ships ran off the British frigates, but the next day the British returned and engaged the Dutch in a fierce battle. The Castor was forced to surrender to the Flora, but this was followed by the Crescent striking to Den Briel, the only time during this war that a British ship lost a naval battle to the Dutch. This dramatic image was a popular print issued in Augsburg for those interested in the events of this conflict. $625



Bon Homme Richard
Robert Dodd. " the Gallant Defense of Captn. Pearson in his Majesty's Ship SERAPIS, and the COUNTESS OF SCARBOROUGH Arm'd Ship Captn. Piercy, against Paul Jones's Squadron, whereby a valuable Fleet from the Baltic were prevented from falling into the hands of the Enemy " London: John Harris, 1 Decr. 1781. Engraving by J. Peltro. 12 x 17 1/2. Early hand color. Trimmed to plate marks, mounted on old board. Stable. Very good appearance. Not in Cresswell book but in dissertation #526.

One of a number of British prints showing the battle between John Paul Jones' Bon Homme Richard and H.M.S. Serapis. In 1779, John Paul Jones was given command of a French ship, the obsolete East Indiaman, Duras, 40 guns. He rechristened her the Bon Homme Richard in honor of Franklin's highly popular Maxims of Poor Richard. Jones sailed for the English coast to await the Baltic fleet, where at dusk, off Flamborough Head on the Yorkshire coast, Jones sighted 41 merchant vessels, escorted by the Serapis, 44 guns. Jones proceeded to attack, in hopes of capturing the fleet. Lashed together most of the time, the ships pounded each other with fury. The captain of the Serapis called again and again for Jones' surrender, which elicited Jones' famous reply, "I have not yet begun to fight." It was only when the main mast on the Serapis threatened to fall that her captain decided to surrender.

The title of this British print does not name Jones' ship and calls attention to the fact that Jones led a squadron against the single British war ship. Subsequent historians have agreed that while Jones won the engagement, the strategic victory went to Captain Pearson because he prevented the Baltic fleet from being captured. The British Navy was able to use the supplies from the Baltic fleet to provision itself for the continuance of the war against Spain, France and Holland, as well as the American colonies. This scene, based on Dodd's famous painting, shows the moment when the Alliance, captained by a jealous and half-mad Frenchman, poured a broadside into both ships when the Bon Homme Richard and Serapis were bound together. A classic image of an important sea battle. $1,500



Serapis and Bon Homme Richard
Prints from Barnard's New Complete and Authentic History of England. London: Edward Barnard, 1781-83. Engravings. On sheets 14 1/2 x 9. Some light stains, but overall very good condition, except as noted.

A series of historical prints from Edward Barnard's History of England. This delightful history was described on one of the prints as "A Work Universally Acknowledged to be the Best Performance of the Kind,-on account of It's Impartiality, Accuracy, New Improvements, Superior Elegance, &c." It was issued at the end of the eighteenth century in response to the growing demand for works on all subjects by a newly educated reading public in England. The history was full of prints on all aspects of English history, including a number of prints on British naval engagements.



French Fleet attcking English In St. Lucia
Owen. "French Fleet attacking the English Fleet in St. Lucia Bay." From The Naval Chronicle. London: J. Gold, 1801. Aquatint by W. Ellis. Ca. 5 x 4. Very good condition.

Between 1799 and 1818, The Naval Chronicle, was the preeminent maritime journal reporting news about the British navy. Issued twice a year, it was published during a period in which the British navy fought the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812, and came to "rule the waves." This wonderful journal included action reports, intelligence on various matters related to the British and other navies, and biographies of naval officers. Many of the reports were accounts by officers directly involved, such as Lord Horatio Nelson. Included with the articles were portraits, images of naval action, and views of the many ports in which the navy called. These are important, first-hand images of this turbulent period. $225
GoGo to page with listing of other prints from The Naval Chronicle.



Glorious First of June
M. Brown. "This Print of the CELEBRATED VICTORY obtained by the British Fleet under the Command of Earl Howe, over The French Fleet ON THE GLORIOUS FIRST OF JUNE, 1794 " London: Daniel Orme, Oct. 1, 1795. Engraving by D. Orme. 17 x 22 1/2. Some marginal repaired tears and wear, a few light creases in image, but overall condition and impression very good.

A striking and quite scarce engraving showing the British naval victory over the French on the "Glorious First of June, 1794." In early 1793 shortly after the execution of Louis XVI, Revolutionary France declared war on the alliance of the German Empire, Spain, Holland and Great Britain. The first naval battle of the war was fought on June 1, 1794 west of Ushant, off the Brittany Peninsula. A French fleet of 26 warships, under Admiral Louis Villaret de Joyeuse, was escorting a convoy of grain ships across the Atlantic when he was intercepted by a similar British fleet under Admiral, Lord Richard Howe. In this decisive action, six French ships were captured and one was sunk, giving the British a "glorious" victory, despite the fact that the supply ships were able to slip away into the harbor at Brest as the British fleet was too battered to pursue them. The British were quite frightened at the time of the entire Revolutionary movement in France, so the British public was exhilarated by this victory, to the extent that thereafter it was always known as the "Glorious First of June." This excellent engraving is after a painting by M. Brown, "Historical Painter to their R.H. the Duke & Duchess of York," and was engraved and published by Daniel Orme, "Historical Engraver to his Majesty & his R.H. the Prince of Wales." It was issued very shortly after the event and it was a celebration of the victory to be hung in prominent homes in England. $1,200



French victory over the Dutch fleet
Nodet. "Conquête de la Flotte Hollandaise sur la Glace le 25 Nivose An 3 (14 Janvier 1795)" Paris: Chez Jean, ca. 1795. Engraving by Le Beau. 13 3/8 x 19. Repaired tear just to image at left; small area with paper skinned on verso, but front surface intact. Very good condition.

A wonderful contemporary French print of a great victory by the Revolutionary Army over the Dutch Republic. In the late 18th century, the Stadtholders of the United Provinces were opposed by the democratically inclined "Patriotic" party. The Patriotic forces gained control for a while, but then the King of Prussia restored the Stadtholders to power. When the French Revolution broke out, France was able to conquer and annex the Southern Netherlands (now Belgium) and then moved against the United Provinces. Dutch power resided primarily in their unequalled fleet, but an extraordinarily cold winter ended up immobilizing their ships in ice, allowing the French army to attack across the frozen waters and conclusively defeat the Dutch. The French set up the Patriotic party in power, establishing the Batavian Republic along the model of the French Republic. This excellent contemporary French print shows this unusual and important battle. $875



P.J. de Loutherbourg. "Battle of the Nile, Fought August 1, 1798." London: James Fittler, 1801. 22 2/2 x 30. Engraving. Margins trimmed to plate marks. Otherwise, very good condition.

A dramatic naval print by Philipp Jakob de Loutherbourg of a 1798 English naval victory over the French. Loutherbourg (1740-1812) was a well established French artist who worked within the Romantic school at the end of the eighteenth century. In 1771 Loutherbourg moved to London where he eventually became a member of the Royal Academy and received a number of commissions for varied work. He was particularly known for his paintings of landscapes and animals, but this image establishes his ability to excel at naval scenes as well. In the foreground French seamen are depicted floating on debris awaiting rescue. The numerous figures on board the ships, engaged in fierce battle, combined with the smoke of the cannon and choppy seas, gives this print an immediacy that is most dramatic.

The Battle of the Nile was fought by the British fleet under Horatio Nelson and the French Revolutionary fleet at Abu Qir Bay, near Alexandria, Egypt. Napoleon ordered the French fleet to sail to Alexandria in order to disrupt British trade routes in Asia. The French fleet was able to elude the British fleet and reach Abu Qir Bay. Nelson discovered the French fleet at twilight and immediately attacked. During the all night battle, the British destroyed or captured all but two of the thirteen French ships. This victory secured British control of the Mediterranean. $2,100



P.J. de Loutherbourg. "The Landing of the British Troops in Egypt on the 8th of March 1801 " London: Anthony Cardon, 1804. 21 x 29 3/4. Stipple engraving. Margins trimmed to platemarks. Otherwise, very good condition.

In 1798, France invaded Egypt to pose a danger to Britain's position in the Mediterranean and India. The following year the French fleet was destroyed at the Battle of the Nile thus trapping the French Army in Egypt. In 1801, the British launched an invasion of Egypt under the command of General Sir Ralph Abercromby. Landing in Aboukir Bay, near Alexandria, the successful amphibious attack would lead to British victory in the Battle of Alexandria on March 21, in which British control of Egypt was guaranteed. $2,100



Tripoli War
"Blowing up of the Fire Ship Intrepid commanded by Capt. Somers in the Harbour of Tripoli on the Night of the 4th. Sept. 1804." From The Port Folio. December 1810. Line engraving. 9 3/4 x 14. Backed with archival tissue. Very good condition. Ref.: E. Newbold Smith, American Naval Broadsides: 43, pl. 29 and Irving Olds, Bits and Pieces: 112.

The first Barbary War (1801-1805) was a result of President Jefferson's refusal to pay an increased tribute to Tripoli (now Libya) one of the Barbary States of North Africa along with of Algiers, Tunis and Morocco. These piratical states had been extracting tribute from the European powers since the eighteenth century, in order to ensure the safety of their vessels sailing in the Mediterranean. When the United States became independent, it was deemed prudent to take up this practice, and so the Americans began paying their own tribute in 1784. In 1801, the pasha of Tripoli demanded an increased tribute, to $225,000, from the new President. This Jefferson, who had long argued against the tribute, refused, and the pasha declared war on the United States on May 14, 1801.

The United States sent navy ships to blockade the Barbary ports and they had some success, though in 1803 the frigate USS Philadelphia ran aground in Tripoli Harbor and was captured. In February 1804, Lt. Stephen Decatur, Jr., led a small group into the harbor aboard a disguised USS Intrepid, and they managed to destroy the Philadelphia to prevent its use by their enemies. Later that year in the Americans tried to send the Intrepid, under Commandant Richard Somers, into the harbor again, this time as a fire ship to burn the enemy fleet. According to this print the ship were boarded by an overwhelming number of enemies before their plan could be carried out. Rather than be captured, enslaved, and lose the ship, Somers ordered that the magazine be explored, which killed both the boarders and the entire American crew. It is not clear that events took place in this way, for the ship may have been hit by enemy fire or perhaps blown up accidentally, but this version made for a stirring story, which promoted patriotism and increased the reputation of the U.S. Navy. Despite this set back, the continued American blockade and an overland expedition against Tripoli, led to a peace treaty on June 4, 1805. $1,350



Copley: Siege and Relief of Gibraltar
John Singleton Copley. "The Siege and Relief of Gibraltar." London: John Singleton Copley, 1810. 22 3/4 x 32 1/4 (image). Engraved by William Sharp. Hand color. Minor mat burn just inside plate mark not affecting image. Several minor tears in margins expertly repaired. Faint water stain in bottom margin. Strong impression with vivid hand color. Conserved. Stable. Good condition. Brown, 17.

A large and dramatic print by the well known American artist John Singleton Copley (1738-1815). Copley, a Boston native, flourished as a portrait artist in the colonies before he settled in London in 1775 and focused on the painting of historical scenes. Copley was a master at painting heroic multi-figure compositions. This print depicts the defeat of the Spanish floating batteries at Gibraltar during the Great Siege of Gibraltar. The Governor of Gibraltar, General George Augustus Eliott, is on horseback pointing to defeated Spanish. The painting is based on the unsuccessful attempt by Spain and France to capture Gibraltar from the British during the War of American Independence. Following the battle, the City of London commissioned Copley in 1783 to depict the victory. Twenty seven years later Copley personally published this large print based on his large oil painting. An excellent example of English battle art of this period. $1,800



Analectic: Consitution, Levant and Cyane
"View of the action between the U.S. Frigate Constitution and the British Ships Levant & Cyane." From The Analectic Magazine. Philadelphia: 1816. 3 7/8 x 7 3/8. Aquatint by William Strickland. Very good condition.

In 1812, Philadelphia bookseller and publisher Moses Thomas purchased a monthly magazine entitled Select Reviews, engaged Washington Irving as editor, and renamed the publication The Analectic Magazine. Irving, his brother-in-law J. K. Paulding, Gulian C. Verplanck and, later, Thomas Isaac Wharton wrote much of the material, which concentrated on literary reviews, articles on travel and science, biographies of naval heroes, and reprints of selections from British periodicals. Illustration "was one of the magazine's chief distinctions. Not only were there the usual engravings on copper, but some of the earliest magazine experiments in lithography and wood engraving appeared here. The plates were chiefly portraits, though some other subjects were used." (Mott, A History of American Magazines) In this dramatic view, the U.S.S. Constitution is engaged in battle with H.M.S. Levant and H.M.S. Cyane. $250



Guierriere and Constitution
M. Corne. "The Constitution in Close Action with the Guerriere." From The Naval Monument, Containing Official and Other Accounts Of All The Battles Fought Between the Navies of the United States and Great Britain During The Late War. Boston: George Clark, 1836. Wood engraving. 2 3/4 x 6 7/8. Very good condition.

The most stirring and, for the United States, successful action during the War of 1812 were fought by the young U.S. Navy. With glorious victories on Lake Champlain, Lake Erie and on the high seas, the captains and ships of the U.S. Navy were the greatest heroes to come out of this war. The demand by the military and the public for information and illustrations of these battles and figures was satisfied by the publication, in 1816-shortly after the war ended-of The Naval Monument. This included descriptions of the naval battles fought during the war, along with twenty five illustrations of those battles, produced in both copper and wood engravings. These are some of the best contemporary images of these battles and this combined with the scarcity of these prints makes them most desirable. $165
GoGo to list of other War of 1812 prints from The Naval Monument.



President and Edymion
Drawn by an Officer of H.M.R.N. "To the Captain, Officers and Brave Crew of His Majesty's Frigate-Endymion-as an Humble Record of British Skill and Valour-This Representation of the Gallant Action on the 15th day of January with the United States Ship-President-commanded by Commodore Decatur." Pentonville: W. Deeley, 1838. Second state. Aquatint by Hill. Full original hand color. Paper watermarked "1839." Plate worn. Two small areas of loss of image filled and in-painted. Small tear in sky. Narrow top margin replaced. Professionally conserved and backed with rice paper. Good condition. Grolier 176; Olds 324.

A second state impression of a very fine contemporary print of the engagement between the United States frigate President and the British frigate Endymion. The President under command of Stephen Decatur after departing New York was damaged by grounding on a sand bar in the darkness. The next day Decatur discovered a British squadron of four ships in pursuit of him. When the British frigate Endymion caught up with the President, a two hour fight ensued, and the Endymion broke off the engagement badly damaged. Decatur could not pursuer to finish her off as two other British ships were in sight. After a brief fight with the other British ships, Decatur decided to surrender due to superior firepower and his being unable to escape. Unfortunately, this battle took place a month after the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in December of 1814.

Originally, this print was first published not long after the battle in 1815. This print is a second state which was re-struck from the original plate in 1838. The second state is indicated by a different publisher and the addition of ship information in the bottom margin. The paper is also watermarked with a date of 1839. Overall, the etching detail in the print is faded. This is due to the printing plate being very worn and not re-etched for the second state. Most noticeable is the loss of detail in the white water surrounding the two ships. A third state of this print can be identified by lack of publication information. Though a later strike, still an original antique prints that is a classic example of English battle art of the Napoleonic Era. $450



Battle of Santiago
S. G. Sebry. "The Naval Battle of Santiago." Boston: James Drummond Ball, 1898. 22 x 42. Chromolithograph. Large margins. Five inch tear, expertly repaired, into image on right hand side. Otherwise, very good condition. With portraits of American and Spanish captains in the bottom margin. With a photocopy of original advertisement for the print.

When was declared against Spain in 1898, Spain's Caribbean Squadron had taken refuge in the harbor of Santiago, Cuba. United States was worried of this fleet raiding the North American coast or endangering the American invasion forces bound for Cuba. Under the Command of Maj. General Williams Shafter, 15,000 American soldiers landed near Santiago and fought the Battles of El Caney and San Juan Hill. With the capture of Santiago by the Americans, Admiral Pascual Cervera and his Spanish Fleet were now within range of American artillery fire, and he considered their position in danger. On July 3 the Spanish Squadron attempted to escape the harbor which was being blockaded by the American Fleet commanded by Admiral Sampson. The Spanish fleet was no match for the American five battleships and two armored cruisers. The campaign was a huge triumph for the modern United States Navy. This print, designed as a panorama to show the scope of the engagement, was issued not long after the battle. Names for both the American and Spanish ships are indicated. Below the image in the bottom margin are numerous oval portraits of the American and Spanish captains of the ships that took part in the battle. This print was originally issued in two editions. One an Artist Proof which was offered on canvas and other the Regular Proof Edition. This print is the latter edition. A copy of the advertisement for the print accompanies this print. A very dramatic and stirring view of the battle. $850



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