The Capture of the French Frigate Le Serene | Thomas Whitcombe | 1808

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Size: 12"x8"

The Capture of the French Frigate Le Serene by the English Frigate Boreas, by Thomas Whitcombe.

This painting is unusual in depicting ships engaged in battle while carrying full sail inventories including their studding sails. It was difficult to both man the guns and set the full complement of sails. Full sail would have been the case had the vessels been engaged in a chase. Positive Identification of the vessels and the specific action depicted is uncertain due to several conflicting elements. The stern cartouche of the French warship bears the beginning of the name ‘LE SER....’; although no French heavy frigates bearing a name in keeping with the letters depicted was in action with any vessel of the Royal Navy during the time of the painting. For several years; the speculative identification was the capture of the French frigate Le Serene by HMS Boreas off the island of Cuba in October 1760. However; the Frenchman is wearing the tri-color flag; not used until after 1789 and the British shows the post 1801 naval ensign; creating a 30 year discrepancy. The best evidence currently points to an engagement that took place in March 1808 between HMS Aigle; a 5th rate of 36 guns under the command of Captain George Wolf and Sirene; 38 guns under Captain Duperre). Aigle was a part of a 5 ship British squadron blockading the port of Lorient. On March 22; 1808; the British sighted two French frigates; Sirene and Italienne. returning to Lorient after having landed troops in Martinique. Aigle braved the French shore batteries on the Basse des Bretons to head off the French frigates; coming close enough to the French ships to open fire. Italienne abandoned it’s attempt to reach Lorient and bore up under the guns of Groix. Aigle chased Sirene and forced her to run aground on the Pointe des Chats; on the south east corner of IsIe de Groix. Since Sirene was protected by powerful shore batteries; the British squadron withdrew. After the action; Aigle reported 22 killed or wounded including the severely wounded Captain Wolf. Sirene was subsequently refloated and reached Lorient safely.



A premium quality heavyweight (200gsm) fine art print material with a smooth, clean finish. This museum quality paper is extremely consistent and works perfectly with large, full colour graphics or illustrations. The matte finish emphasizes different highlights and tones in the source artworks; helping to create stunning works of art.

- All prints include a small 0.25 inch white border to ensure space for framing.


Our Eco Credentials Include:

  • FSC approved or sustainably sourced paper
  • Printed using water based inks
  • Local fulfilment reduces carbon emissions
  • Contains no plastic



12’’ x 8’’ Inches = 30.5 cm x 20.3 cm

18’’ x 12’’ Inches = 45.7 cm x 30.5 cm 

24" x 16" Inches = 61 cm x 40.6 cm