Under Lord Nelson's leadership, the British Navy proved its supremacy over the French between the years 1794 and 1805. Nelson's victories were considered the pride of England and continued, despite the loss of the use of his right eye at Calvi and his right arm during the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1797. His most famous engagement, at Cape Trafalgar, saved Britain from threat of invasion by Napoleon. Nelson successfully inspired his squadron before the Battle of Trafalgar with these famous words: “England expects that every man will do his duty.” During the first day of battle, October 21, 1805, the beloved national hero was felled by a French sniper's bullet.
England's pivotal yet poignant victory at Trafalgar drew Buttersworth to the subject many times in his career. Buttersworth himself served as a sailor under Nelson in the battle of Cape St. Vincent, (see lot 5) but was invalided out of the service as a Midshipman in 1800.
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