A True Relation of Capt. Kempthorn’s Engagement, in the Mary-Rose, with seven Algier Men of War

£2,000

[London, c.1669], 375 by 420mm (14.75 by 16.5 inches).

Engraving and etching, list of ships upper left, letterpress text below.

 

Rare depiction of the Battle Against Pirates off Cadiz

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[London, c.1669], 375 by 420mm (14.75 by 16.5 inches).

Engraving and etching, list of ships upper left, letterpress text below.

 

Rare depiction of the Battle Against Pirates off Cadiz

Hollar was on board the Mary Rose and this engraving is an eyewitness account.

The battle of Cádiz of 1669, was a naval engagement fought 18–19 December 1669 [in the waters near Cádiz between the English fourth-rate frigate Mary Rose under the command of Rear-Admiral John Kempthorne, escorting several merchantmen, and a group of seven pirate ships operating out of Algiers. The incident was recorded and drawn by the engraver Wenceslaus Hollar, with a copy of the  engraving appearing in John Ogilby’s Africa.

“On a calm sea six pirate ships in line are passing to windward of the two English warships and firing broadsides in turn. The English ships are protecting three merchantmen to leeward. In the lower left corner, a French ship is sailing away, and on the horizon another pirate vessel pursues a solitary merchantman”.

Hollar, who reportedly sat on deck of the Mary Rose sketching during the action, later produced this etching of the battle. The picture shows the Algerine line engaging the Mary Rose and the Roe, while Rose Leaf chases King David to the southeast, the French merchantman escapes to the northwest, and the other merchantmen shelter behind the Mary Rose.

Willem van de Velde’s oil painting based on Hollar’s etching of the Mary Rose engagement is in the Royal Collection, where it has been held at least since 1687, and is currently (2013) on public display in the Queen’s Private Dining Room at Hampton Court Royal Palace. A copy with the monogram of Adriaen van Viest inscribed on the reverse was with the Leger Galleries in London in 1973, and another is recorded as being in the collection at Castle Howard, North Yorkshire. This picture was possibly commissioned during Kempthorne’s lifetime or by his family: alterations from the original were made to the flags in order to correct them.

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