The Art of the Sublime

ISBN 978-1-84976-387-5

Philip James De Loutherbourg The Battle of Camperdown 1799

Philip James De Loutherbourg 'The Battle of Camperdown' 1799
Philip James De Loutherbourg 1740–1812
The Battle of Camperdown 1799
Oil paint on canvas
support: 1524 x 2140 mm
Tate T01451
Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1971
By 1800, 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 Vryhied. Loutherbourg, who was chief designer of scenery at the Drury Lane Theatre, was more concerned with dramatic effect than documentation. His picture was said to express ‘the horror and devastation attendant upon a conflict disputed with such obstinate bravery’.

How to cite

Philip James De Loutherbourg, The Battle of Camperdown 1799, in Nigel Llewellyn and Christine Riding (eds.), The Art of the Sublime, Tate Research Publication, January 2013,, accessed 27 May 2018.