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Escape of HMS 'Clyde' from the Nore mutiny, 30 May 1797

Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Oil paintings, Maritime Art Greenwich
Gallery locationNot on display
EventsMutiny at the Nore, 1797
VesselsClyde (1796)

Object details:

Object ID BHC0496
Description During the mutiny at the Nore, off Sheerness, which followed on from that at Spithead, only two ships' captains managed to maintain some control of their commands. One of these was Captain Charles Cunningham of the frigate, 'Clyde'. On 29 May, he managed to persuade his men to ignore the summons from the rebel leader Richard Parker, in the 'Sandwich', to a conference. Instead, at 9.00 p.m. that night, Cunningham assembled his crew and told them that he intended to take the 'Clyde' into Sheerness. After midnight she slipped her cable and made for Sheerness, anchoring there at dawn. The port admiral, Vice-Admiral Buckner, then defiantly rehoisted his flag in her, the mutineers having hauled it down in the guardship, 'Sandwich'. In this interpretation, the 'Clyde', in starboard-broadside view, is sailing on the starboard tack and occupying the right-hand side of the picture. Beyond her stern and to the left is the 'Sandwich', port-quarter view, with the red flag of mutiny at her main and her riding lights lit. To the left of the 'Sandwich', in starboard-quarter view, is a two-decker firing one of her after upper-deck guns. Other ships lie at anchor beyond her and in the right background, under 'Clyde's' jib-boom, is a frigate firing a gun from her port tier. The painting captures the darkness of Cunningham's plight and that of the Navy. The atmospheric moonlight is implied behind the 'Clyde', and this bright light helps to create the contrast with the dark ship which has chosen to separate herself from the mutinous fleet. This painting is one of a pair; see also BHC 0497. The artist has signed it on a floating spar in the sea at centre left, in red on brown.
Date made 1830

Artist/Maker Joy, William
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Painting: 609 mm x 914 mm; Frame: 1152 mm x 862 mm x 110 mm
  • Escape of HMS 'Clyde' from the Nore mutiny, 30 May 1797 (BHC0496)
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