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De Loutherbourg was celebrated for his dramatic depictions of maritime disasters and sea battles. The subject here is the decisive moment in the battle of Camperdown, off the Dutch coast, in 1797. A British fleet defeated the Dutch, who were then allied with the French. The flagship Venerable fires its last broadside at the Dutch Vrijheid (Freedom). De Loutherbourg, who was chief designer of scenery at the Drury Lane Theatre, was more concerned with dramatic effect than documentation.

February 2016