Battle of Cape Lizard in 1707 by Jean Antoine Théodore Gudin
Battle of Cape Lizard in 1707 by Jean Antoine Théodore Gudin

Battle of Cape Lizard in 1707

Battle of Cape Lizard in 1707 by French Painter Jean Antoine Théodore Gudin (1802 – 1880); a marine painter and court painter to King Louis Philippe and then French Emperor Napoleon III.

This painting by Gudin depicts the Naval Battle of the Lizard which took place in October 21, 1707, during the War of Spanish Succession near Lizard Point, Cornwall.

The battle was between two French squadrons of six ships each, that were under the command of René Duguay-Trouin and Claude de Forbin and an English convoy that was being protected be a squadron under the command of Commodore Richard Edwards.

The battle went in favor of the French squadrons as an almost complete victory as they took possession of the 80-gun Cumberland and the 50-gun Chester and Ruby; but lost the Royal Oak as she was able to escape to Kinsale with several merchantmen.

The last of the British ships, the 80-gun Devonshire fought valiantly for several hours as she engaged seven French ships until she caught fire and exploded; with only three crewman escaping out of the 500 onboard her.

This is a retouched digital art old masters reproduction of a public domain image.

Info Below Derived From Wikipedia.org

Théodore was born in Paris France and he and his older brother Jean-Louis (1799 – 1823), were raised by his mother who was a widow.

Though he was enrolled in a Naval school in France, he abandoned his studies and embarked on a trip to New York City in the United States where he mingled with the Bonapartists (person who either actively participated in or advocated for conservative, monarchist) in exile.

In 1819 Gudin decided to join the United States Navy and became part of the crew of the Manchester Packet, a 250 ton brig (a sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts).

Then in 1822 he returned to Paris and inspired by his brother who had become a student of French Painter Horace Vernet (1789 – 1863); decided to pursue a career in art, and was able to take up a position in the studios of French Painter Anne-Louis Girodet (1767 – 1824).

That same year he made his debut at the Salon; but the very next year in 1823 things would take a tragic turn, as he and his brother were involved in a shipwreck on the Seine river in France, where his brother drowned. This event would have a profound impact on him for the rest of his life.

In 1824 he exhibited a painting of ships that had taken him on a visit to the United States at the Salon and won the support of the future King Louis Philippe I (1773 – 1850).

In 1828 he was commissioned by King Charles X (1754 – 1836) to paint a depiction of Ensign Hippolyte Bisson (1796 – 1827) who, the year before, had blown up his ship rather than surrender it to pirates.

Shortly after completing his commission, Gudin went with his friend French Navy officer Abel Aubert du Petit-Thouars, to participate in the Algerian Expedition (1830 – 1903), where he made numerous sketches of his adventure.

After returning from the Algerian Expedition, he was awarded the title of “Peintre de la Marine” at the court of Louis Philippe; and over the next several years made painting trips to Italy, Switzerland and Russia.

He was then made a Baron by the King, and was commissioned to produce ninety paintings on French naval history for the Palace of Versailles; a monumental task that apparently undermined his health.

In 1841 he was named an officer in the Legion of Honor and following an exhibition in Berlin in 1845 he received the Cross Pour le Mérite.

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