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Commodore Walker's Action: the Privateer 'Boscawen' Engaging a Fleet of French Ships, 23 May 1745. Charles Brooking’s painting relates to the ‘Voyages and Cruises of Commodore Walker’, first published in 1760 by an unidentified author but possibly an autobiographical narrative of the adventures of the successful English privateer captain, George Walker (d. 1777). It includes his cruise commanding the privateer ‘Boscawen’ - a captured French frigate originally called the ‘Medée’ - and her encounter with this convoy of eight merchantmen bound from Martinique to France. The French ships also carried privateering 'letters of marque' and the engagement, in which the English privateer 'Sheerness' was also involved, took place in the eastern Atlantic north-west of Cape Finisterre.
The scene, which was engraved by Boydell in 1753, shows the ‘Boscawen’ in the middle ground, slightly out of the central axis, which is accentuated by the high build-up of clouds in the sky. She is surrounded by the French ships, exchanging fire with them across calm waters, with the commodore (leading ship) of the enemy convoy , the 'Jeune Marie', sinking on the right. A brig and sloop escape on the left but all five of the other French ships were captured. The 'Sheerness' is probably the ship in port-bow view in the distance, immediately to the right of the 'Jeune Marie', since a total of ten vessels are included. All the French ones fly white (Bourbon) colours.
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Privateer 'Boscawen' Engaging a Fleet of French Ships | Charles Brooking | 1750
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