8
8
Dominic Serres, R.A.
BRITISH
THE SQUADRON OF ADMIRAL THOMAS GRAVES OFF THE BANKS OF NEWFOUNDLAND, SEPTEMBER 17TH, 1782
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 42,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
8
Dominic Serres, R.A.
BRITISH
THE SQUADRON OF ADMIRAL THOMAS GRAVES OFF THE BANKS OF NEWFOUNDLAND, SEPTEMBER 17TH, 1782
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 42,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Maritime Art from the Collection of Peter V. Guarisco

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New York

Dominic Serres, R.A.
1719-1793
BRITISH
THE SQUADRON OF ADMIRAL THOMAS GRAVES OFF THE BANKS OF NEWFOUNDLAND, SEPTEMBER 17TH, 1782
signed D Serres (lower right)
oil on canvas
18 1/4 by 28 3/4 in.
46.5 by 73 cm
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Provenance

Property of a Gentleman
Sale: Sotheby's, London, March 15, 1978, lot 138, illustrated

Catalogue Note

This work depicts the British convoy, led by Admiral Thomas Graves, which was charged with guarding the captured French vessels Ville de Paris and Glorieux, after the Battle of the Saints in the West Indes in April 1782.  The history of this disastrous convoy is an interesting one.  Admiral Graves fought in the Seven Years War against France, and was made Governor-Commodore of Newfoundland in 1762.  Soon Labrador was placed under his authority as well.  He returned to battling the French during the American Revolution, and fought a losing battle at the famous Battle of the Chesapeake against the Comte de Grasse in September, 1781.  This pivotal victory for the French and American alliance led directly to Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown, and ultimately to America’s victory and independence from Britain. The next April the Comte de Grasse engaged in the Battle of the Saints, the last naval battle of the American Revolution.  He was defeated there by Lord Rodney's fleet, who introduced in this famous fight a very successful tactic, (soon adopted as part of standard British naval strategy) the “breaking of the line.”  Rodney engaged the enemy as the fleets passed on opposing courses, and Rodney then forced the fleet of thirty French ships into open water by using a favorable change in the wind to his advantage. Rodney then led the way through a gap in the fleet, engaging the enemy from the opposing side, causing panic among the French ships and ultimately winning the battle.  De Grasse’s flagship, Ville de Paris was taken as a prize, as was Glorieux.  De Grasse himself was taken prisoner and sent back to France, which was a lucky turn of events for him, as his ill-fated vessel was one of two soon to be led to disaster by Admiral Thomas Graves, his old enemy from the Battle of the Chesapeake.   The violent storm of September 17, 1782 which cost the British these prize ships and all their valuable cargo also sunk two of their own ships of the line, Ramillies and Centaur.  Though Admiral Thomas Graves himself survived the day, 3,500 sailors and all four vessels were lost to the storm’s overwhelming power.

Important Maritime Art from the Collection of Peter V. Guarisco

|
New York