The Collections

Curator's pick: naval battles post-Trafalgar

Created: 31.03.11

The Royal Navy’s role in the Napoleonic Wars did not end at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. This group of objects relates the various ways the navy was used to further British interests in the remaining ten years of the conflict. The French continued to challenge British mastery of the seas, while new threats emerged in the shape of the Danish, Russian and American navies. As a result, battles continued to be fought, such as at San Domingo in 1806, and Copenhagen in 1807. For the most part the navy concentrated on blockading enemy ports, convoying British trade and conducting amphibious raids. Following Nelson’s death, other naval officers rose to the fore: Duckworth in the Caribbean, Collingwood in the Mediterranean and Saumarez in the Baltic. In protecting British trade, and undermining the internal economies of its enemies, the navy made an important contribution to Napoleon’s eventual defeat. (James Davey, Research Curator: Naval and Maritime History)

  • Name
  • Artist / Maker
  • Date made
  • ID
  • Tegg, Thomas
    October 1807
    More Ships or Good News from Copenhagen!! (caricature)

    One of the uses of small telescopes, known as spyglasses, was to help those with poor sight. In satirical images, this could be used to emphasise the foolishness of those they lampooned. This image shows King George III, on the…

  • Cruikshank, Isaac
    Published 9 August 1810
    'The Empress's wish or Boney Puzzled!!' (caricature)

    Print 'The Empress's wish or Boney Puzzled!! (caricature)'. A satire on Napoleon’s frustration and anger at British superiority and strength in the naval war. Playing, by now very conventionally, upon his diminutive stature, it shows him glowering on the rampart…

  • Luny, Thomas
    The Blockade of Toulon, 1810-14: Pellew's Action, 5 November 1813

    An incident in the blockade of Toulon, the principal French Mediterranean naval port, towards the end of the Napoleonic War. By the autumn of 1813 the French fleet at Toulon had built up to 21 sail of the line and…

  • Robert Lovett junior
    circa 1860
    Medal commemorating the capture of HMS 'Guerriere', 1812

    Medal commemorating the capture of HMS 'Guerriere', 1812. Obverse: Starboard-quarter view of the 'Guerriere' dismasted (left), and port broadside view of the 'Constitution' firing (right). Reverse: Inscription, within a semi-wreath of laurel and an anchor, 'CONSTITUTION AND GUERRIERE 1812.' Wreath…

  • Drummond, Samuel
    Captain William Rogers, b. 1783

    A head-and-shoulders portrait to left wearing a black coat, black neckerchief and stock and white collar and cravat. The portrait is refreshingly direct and was probably done from life. Captain William Rogers of the ‘Windsor Castle’ mail packet was attacked…

  • Edwin Williams
    Vice-Admiral James Saumarez (1757-1836)

    A full-length portrait of James de Saumarez in vice-admiral’s full dress uniform. He wears the ribbons and stars of the Bath and the Swedish Order of the Sword, and the medals of the battles of St Vincent and the Nile.…