Philip James De LoutherbourgThe Battle of Camperdown 1799

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Artwork details

The Battle of Camperdown
Date 1799
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 1524 x 2140 mm
Acquisition Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1971
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1780


The subject of this large oil painting is the Battle of Camperdown, a major naval encounter which took place on 11 October 1797 between a British fleet under Admiral Adam Duncan and the Dutch fleet, who were then allied with the French. The battle was the most significant conflict between British and Dutch forces during the French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1802) and resulted in a resounding victory for Duncan. De Loutherbourg shows the decisive moment when the British flagship Venerable, to the left of centre, fires its last broadside at the Dutch flagship Vryhied. Other British ships such as Powerfully Ardent, Bedford and Director can also be identified, but such documentary detail was not de Loutherbourg’s primary concern. The prominence given to the shipwrecked sailors in the foreground offers a human perspective on the conflict… (read more)

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