Lot 75
  • 75

Thomas Luny

Estimate
30,000 - 50,000 USD
Sold
bidding is closed

Description

  • Thomas Luny
  • The Bombardment of Algiers, 27 August 1816
  • oil on canvas
  • 87cm by 129.5cm

Provenance

Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's, 26 March 2004, lot 36;
Anonymous sale ("The Property of a Gentleman"), London, Sotheby's, 5 July 2012, lot 278.

Catalogue Note

This impressive painting commemorates the action under the command of Admiral Lord Exmouth off Algiers on 27 August 1816.  Following Napoleon’s final defeat in 1815, the Royal Navy no longer needed the assistance of the Barbary States as a source of supplies for Gibraltar and would no longer tolerate further threat of piracy in the Mediterranean, or the systemic enslavement of Europeans in North Africa.  A  diplomatic mission was undertaken to secure the release of British subjects held in captivity.  However, when Algerian troops massacred two hundred Corsican, Sicilian and Sardinian fishermen who were under British protection, it was finally decided that action should be taken.

Lord Exmouth set sail from Plymouth on 28 July 1816 with two three-deckers, the Queen Charlotte, with 100 guns, the Impregnable, with 98 guns, as well as three 74-gun ships, one 50-gun ship, four frigates, and nine smaller vessels.  At Gibraltar he was joined by a squadron of Dutch frigates under the command of Vice Admiral Theodorus Frederik van Capellen.  The fleet reached Algiers on 27 August and, when no answer was given to Lord Exmouth’s demands for the release of prisoners, the order was given to fire.  The fire was returned and a fierce action ensued, lasting eight hours.  The Algerian batteries were destroyed, along with thirty-three Algerian vessels and much of the town.  The result was the release of three thousand European slaves, over a thousand of them British, along with the British Consul.  Lord Exmouth returned to England in triumph.

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