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HMS BUCKINGHAM was a 70 gun Royal Navy third-rate ship launched in 1751. She was built at Deptford and after fitting-out, was commissioned in 1755. The picture celebrates an outstanding naval victory by the British over the French. A single British ship taking on and defeating three French vessels. On 3 November 1758, the colonial rivalries between France and Britain, particularly in North America led to a global conflict known as the Seven Years War. (1756-1763). On 3 November 1758, the BUCKINGHAM under the command of Richard Tyrell and joined by a small vessel HMS WEAZEL, engaged three French ships-of-the-line off the coast of Montserrat in the West Indies. The 74 gun FLORISSANT, 38 gun AIGRETTE and the 28 gun ATALANTE were convoying Dutch ships with provisions to Martinique when the sea battle took place. The WEAZEL withdrew early in the piece and after a four hour battle, the BUCKINGHAM was triumphant. After the initial shots, the 2 frigates were defeated and WEAZEL took no further part in the battle. At the finish, FLORISSANT in sinking condition, managed to disentangle herself and sail off before being boarded by the British and made it into Martinique badly damaged and needing a complete rebuild. 

The artist is Francis Swaine, (1725-1782) and the engraver Peter Paul Benazech. (1744-1783?).

There are several different engravings of Swaine's picture. This is the original engraving and was one of four engravings of Swaine's pictures published that illustrated incidents during the Seven Years War. The battle continued to be celebrated in print for the next thirty years. These later versions are smaller and not as fine.

Copperplate engraving.

Later hand colour.

335 x 463 mm. (Plateline).

Repair to the paper outside of the left hand margin, not effecting the printed area.

Generally excellent condition.

. . . the Buckingham of 66 Guns . . . Three Ships of War . . . 1758 . . .

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