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An interpretation of Admiral Duncan receiving the surrender of the Dutch Admiral de Winter, following the Battle of Camperdown, painted 30 years after the event. Admiral Duncan countered the threat of French invasion when he defeated the Dutch fleet at Camperdown in 1797. His victory was regarded as one of the most important naval actions of its time. He was commander of the North Sea fleet blockading Holland when the Dutch fleet, commanded by Admiral de Winter, appeared. A very hard-fought action ensued with many casualties. Duncan's own ship, the 'Venerable', 74 guns, took many hits. When Duncan's flag was shot from the main topmast, he retrieved it himself and, in a famous incident, seaman Jack Crawford of Sunderland climbed up to reattach it to the shattered masthead. With de Winter's surrender, Admiral Duncan was able to claim 11 ships as prizes, from an enemy fleet of just 18.
The painting shows the quarter-deck of Duncan's flagship, 'Venerable', viewed from the port side, with Duncan, de Winter and Captain Fairfax of the 'Venerable' standing in the centre. Duncan is on the right facing left, in full-dress uniform with the sash and star of the Order of the Bath. He holds his hat in his left hand and his right hand prepares to receive de Winter's sword. Fairfax introduces de Winter to Duncan. Standing in profile to the right, de Winter is shown conceding his sword to Duncan. In the background to the left, a lieutenant holds a speaking trumpet. There is a gun crew running out a gun, and men in the mizzen shrouds and netting. The seaman pulling at a fallen flag on the anti-boarding netting may be intended to represent Jack Crawford, though Duncan's command flag at Camperdown was plain blue and the incident occurred earlier in the action. In the right foreground, a gun carriage has the ensign of the Dutch flagship 'Vrijheid', 74 guns, thrown over it.
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Battle of Camperdown, October 1797 | Samuel Drummond | 1827
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