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The capture of the slaver 'Bolodora' [Voladora], 6 June 1829

Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Oil paintings
Gallery locationNot on display
VesselsBoladora (1829), Pickle (1827)

Object details:

Object ID BHC0624
Description (Updated September 2015) On the morning of 5 June 1829, while cruising off the north-west coast of Cuba, HM Schooner ‘Pickle’ discovered a strange sail. This she stalked until she had interposed herself between the stranger and land. She closed in on her after nightfall. Action then commenced and after 80 minutes the slaver, as she proved, surrendered. She was the Spanish topsail schooner 'Voladora' - though English references tend to use ‘Bolodora’ - with a crew of 60 of which 10 were killed. The ‘Pickle’ had only half that number in her crew of which one was killed outright and three died later. The prize was taken to Havana with some difficulty as she had to be jury rigged and the prisoners were in the majority. They and the slaves were delivered to the Spanish governor. The painting shows the night scene with the event being lit by the flash of the guns and slightly by the moon seen low over the ‘Bolodora’s stern. In the right foreground she is shown broadside-on and flying the American flag. Her mainmast shot away, she is trailing rigging over the stern and her sails are much cut up. She is shown silhouetted against the gunfire and explosions as the fight continies with ‘Pickle’ beyond her on the left. In the centre foreground is a boat full of people escaping from the action. The painting is based on a print by Edward Duncan after William John Huggins, published in 1831 (see PAG9091). This calls the slaver 'Bolodora', though this painting was acquired in 1950 with the spelling 'Boladora'. 'Voladora' - the ship's Spanish name- can mean 'flying fish' or refer to a witch who could turn herself into a bird in the mythology of Chiloe (an island on the Chilean coast), either appropriate for a fast and elusive vessel. The artist, usually called John Moore of Ipswich was born in 1820 (and died in 1902), so it may be a considerably later version.
Date made Mid 19th century

Artist/Maker Moore, John
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Caird Fund.
Materials oil on panel
Measurements Painting: 231 x 291 x 9 mm; Frame: 322 x 384 x 37 mm
  • The capture of the slaver 'Bolodora' [Voladora], 6 June 1829 (BHC0624)
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