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The painting celebrates Admiral Anson’s successful attack on a French convoy, 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. From the late 1720s Scott was England’s leading marine painter. After Canaletto’s arrival in London in 1746 he also began to produce panoramic views of London and the Thames, presumably in response to a growing market for such subjects.

February 2016