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The painting celebrates Admiral Anson's successful attack on a French convoy in 1747. This was carried out as part of Britain's policy to cut communication between France and her North American colonies during the War of the Austrian Succession. It is not an accurate representation of events, but more a monument to Britain's rapidly growing naval power. Scott painted several versions of this scene, this being the latest, dating from circa 1749-50. From the late 1720s Scott had been England's leading marine painter, but after Canaletto's arrival in London in l746 he also began to produce panoramic views of London and the Thames, presumably in response to a growing market for such subjects.

September 2004