|European Paintings — Thomas Buttersworth - HMS "Queen Charlotte', 110 Guns, Bearing the Flag of Vice Admiral Keith, Anchored in Cadiz Bay|
|Thomas Buttersworth - HMS "Queen Charlotte', 110 Guns, Bearing the Flag of Vice Admiral Keith, Anchored in Cadiz Bay
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 18 1/2 x 26 inches
Thomas Buttersworth, the father of James Edward Buttersworth, was among the most noted marine painters in early nineteenth-century Britain. The majority of his career was spent in Great Britain, before emigrating with his son to America during the second quarter of the nineteenth century. A native of the Isle of Wight, Buttersworth was uniquely suited to marine painting, having served for a number of years in the Royal Navy as a Master at Arms and a Midshipman in the last years of the eighteenth century. His knowledge of and familiarity with naval vessels came from this experience, and it is possible that he served as official draftsman or artist to the Admiralty. Being a eyewitness to the vagaries of the sea imbued him with a sense of its drama, which he captured vividly in his artwork, and specifically in this spectacular scene.
The "Queen Charlotte" was designed by Edward Hunt and built at Chatham Dockyard, England in 1790. Named after the consort to King George III, she served a glorious career in the Royal Navy, first as flagship of Admiral Richard Earl Howe and then under the command of Admiral Alexander Hood, Viscount Bridport when he engaged the French at the Battle of Groix, on 23 June 1795. In Buttersworth's engaging painting, the ship is shown bearing the flag of Vice-Admiral George Keith Elphinstone, later first Viscount Keith, who was a distinguished Scottish officer whose career began in the Seven Years War, 1756-1763. Under his command the "Queen Charlotte" was involved in the Nore mutiny of 1797 and three years later, on 17 March 1800, in the Mediterranean Sea, she caught fire and sank off Livorno. 690 lives were lost.
This spectacular oil painting captures the true majesty of the ship with its many sails and fluttering flags. The approaching storm fills the thunderous sky as the sails of the small boat in the foreground fill with tempestous wind and the white water of the sea breaks across its hull. In this fabulous work Butterworth’s artistic skill not only beautifully captures the physical presence of the “Queen Charlotte” but also the feeling of the ensuing storm.