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The death of Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805

Oil paintings

Object connections:

Collection Oil paintings, Fine art
User collections Britain and the Sea audio tour by Joanna
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleDepiction: Nelson, Horatio
EventsNapoleonic Wars: Battle of Trafalgar, 1805

Object details:

Object ID BHC0551
Description One of a series of paintings of the same subject by Drummond, of which BHC0547 is a variant showing a setting of ‘Victory’s’ middle deck whereas this seems to be on the quarter-deck. At Trafalgar, Nelson (on the quarter-deck) was struck by a musket ball fired from the French ‘Redoutable’ at approximately 1.30 pm. Mortally wounded he was rapidly carried below so that the men around him would not lose heart. Drummond’s composition pays homage to imagery relating to the deposition from the Cross. On the left in the foreground Nelson is shown being held by two sailors and a marine, who can be identified by his stripes as Sergeant Secker. A dead marine lies on the deck on the left and an injured sailor lies on the deck on the right. Across the foreground are positioned a carefully placed musket and hat. Above on the right, on the poop, British sailors and marines are engaging the French on the left, where the ‘Redoutable’ is placed. Several figures have turned on the left to look towards the group of figures carrying Nelson. The English and French flags are prominently displayed top left, and the dramatic effect is heightened by the contrasting black-and-white smoke shown billowing on the left. This painting is a small version of the much larger canvas (3149 x4089 mm) in the Walker Art Gallery Liverpool, thought to have been painted about 1812. The artist exhibited a picture of this title in the Liverpool Academy exhibitions of 1812 no. 109 and of 1813 no. 26.
Date made circa 1806

Artist/Maker Drummond, Samuel
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Nelson-Ward Collection
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Frame: 916 mm x 1130 mm x 95 mm x 20.4 kg;Painting: 735 mm x 915 mm
  • The death of Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805 (BHC0551)
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