William Lionel Wyllie
The Battle of the Nile 1899

Artwork details

The Battle of the Nile
Date 1899
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1524 x 2743 mm
frame: 1900 x 3300 x 120 mm
Acquisition Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1899
Not on display

Catalogue entry


Inscr. ‘W. L. Wyllie 1899’ b.l.
Canvas, 60×108 (152·5×274·5).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1899.
Exh: R.A., 1899 (558); R.A., Late Members, winter 1933 (597).
Lit: Admiral Sir Cyprian Bridge, G.C.B., W. L. Wyllie, R.A., 1907, p.13 and repr.

Nelson's great victory in Aboukir Bay near the mouth of the Nile 1798 secured the Mediterranean for the British and the East from conquest by Napoleon. According to the note in Bridge, loc. cit.: ‘The picture represents the closing scene of the battle, lit up by the moon and the burning ships. The spectator is supposed to be looking down the line of ships to the south-east. On the left the French ship “Guerrier” is seen a complete wreck. Beyond is Nelson's flagship, the “Vanguard”, engaged with the “Spartiate” and “Aquilon”, while on the right the fight is still raging round the “Orient”, three-decker, which is a mass of flames. In the distance the “Culloden” is seen ashore on a reef. In the near foreground are the boats of the “Zealous” rowing to take possession of a prize.’

Wyllie also made an etching after this picture, which was published by Robert Dunthorne.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II

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