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The capture of the slaver 'Formidable' by HMS 'Buzzard', 17 December 1834 (Painting)

Fine art

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Object ID BHC0625
Description Oil painting of the capture of the larger Spanish slaving brig 'Formidable' by HM brigantine 'Buzzard', 10 guns, on 17 December 1834. The action took place off the west coast of Africa where the 'Buzzard' was on anti-slavery duty and intercepted the Spanish ship making the middle passage. It lasted 45 minutes, with the loss of two men in the 'Buzzard' and seven in the 'Formidable' before she struck. This picture shows raking shot from 'Buzzard' hitting the stern of the Spaniard. Of the 707 slaves found in the captured ship 307 'perished from disease and misery' before the British could get her into Sierra Leone. The picture shows a useful image of nettings used to prevent slaves escaping (including by suicidal jumping overboard) but here also possibly against boarders. For a related watercolour version by Huggins see PAG9762 and a related print by Duncan after Huggins, PAH8184. The print suggests that a Lt Millward commanded the 'Buzzard' but Laird Clowes (vol VI, p. 275 citing the 'Nautical Magazine', iv, p. 312) says it was Lt Jeremiah McNamara, as well as giving the date as just 'early 1835'. The watercolour lacks the piece of floating timber, shown on the left under the bowsprit of the 'Formidable' in the oil, which appears to bear an abraded signature - possibly 'WJH', though also looking like a name in cursive ending 'ield': this may however be delusory. Huggins exhibited a larger version of the same subject at the British Institution in 1836 (no. 474: framed dimensions, 5 ft 1 in x 6 ft 9 in), so this small one is probably a replica. [PvdM amended 11/17]
Date made circa 1836

Artist/Maker Huggins, William John
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Macpherson Collection
Materials oil on canvas on panel
Measurements Frame: 528 x 690 x 75 mm; Painting: 380 mm x 545 mm
  • The capture of the slaver 'Formidable' by HMS 'Buzzard', 17 December 1834 (Painting) (BHC0625)
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