Lot 6020
  • 6020

Dominic Serres, R.A. (Auch 1722 - 1793 London)

Estimate
100,000 - 150,000 USD
Sold
225,000 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Dominic Serres, R.A.
  • His Majesty’s Ships Phoenix, Roebuck and Tartar, accompanied by three smaller vessels, forcing their way through the cheval-de-frise on the Hudson River between Forts Washington and Lee, New York, 9 October 1776
  • signed D. Serres and dated 1779 (lower left); also inscribed His Majesty's Ships/. 40 guns/ the 'Roebuck' 40 guns/the Tartar 28... guns/passing Fort Washington/going up the Hudson River/to prevent the Americans/throwing supplies into/the fort. Oct 1776/Robert Barlow/...one of officers/of Tartar/...R Barlow on the stretcher
  • oil on canvas
signed D. Serres and dated 1779 (lower left); also inscribed His Majesty's Ships/. 40 guns/the 'Roebuck' 40 guns/the Tartar 28... guns/passing Fort Washington/going up the Hudson River/to prevent the Americans/throwing supplies into/the fort. Oct 1776/Robert Barlow/...one of officers/of Tartar/...R Barlow on the frame

Provenance

Commissioned by Robert Barlow, an officer serving aboard H.M.S. Tartar during the engagement;
Thence by descent;
Sotheby's, London, British Paintings 1500-1850 April 15, 1995, sale 5226, lot 8.

Exhibited

London, England, Royal Academy of Arts, 1779, no. 295.

Catalogue Note

The painting depicts an important action during the Revolutionary War, shortly after the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Having defeated the Continental Army at the Battle of White Plains, General Howe ordered a small squadron of British war ships, under the command of Captain Hyde Parker in H.M.S. Phoenix, to occupy the Hudson River and prevent the remaining Continental troops on Manhattan Island from receiving supplies in preparation for his assault on Fort Washington. Serres illustrates the Phoneix, together with H.M.S. Roebuck, under the command of Captain A.S. Hammond, H.M.S. Tartar, commanded by Captain George Jackson, and three smaller vessels forcing their way through a cheval-de-frise, comprised of artificial barriers and sunken vessels defending the north part of the river. On the right lies Fort Washington, on a large outcrop at the northern end of Manhattan, with its several shore batteries engaging the enemy at close range, whilst from the left the British forces are bombarded by the guns of Fort Lee, sitting atop the New Jersey Palisades. Despite the heavy bombardment Captain Parker and his fleet passed successfully through, capturing two gunboats in the process, and he was subsequently knighted in 1779 for his heroic efforts.

Another version of this picture, painted for Captain Parker, is at Melford Hall, Suffolk, and a copy by Thomas Mitchell, dated 1780, is in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. (See A. Russett, Dominic Serres. War Artist to the Navy, Woodbridge 2001, pp. 103-112.)

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