Trafalgar Dawn, the French Perspective
Le catastrophe de Trafalgar. The Trafalgar Collection
Exhibited at the European Parliament, May 2011
By Gordon Frickers this marine painting measures 30 x 121 cms (12″ x 48″), Oils, £35,000.
ex studio ex frame; payments can be by installments.
Click on the image above or the images below to see more detail.
Available as a beautiful heritage quality marine print, signed and numbered.
By Gordon Frickers this marine painting measures 30 x 121 cms (12″ x 48″), Oils, Price on application.
ex studio ex frame; payments can be by installments.
Contrary to popular myths, legend and propaganda the French and Spanish were not surprised by Nelson.
Gordon Frickers was Official artist for HMS Victory for 2005, from 1994 to 1998 so had unique acces to archives in Great Britain and though out Europe.
The documents clearly prove the commanders of the Combined Fleet knew of the British presence and Vice Admiral Villeneuve had anticipated Nelson’s tactics.
The rising sun is highlighting the sails of the British fleet against the darker western sky.
Some 10 years passed researching for this painting, to make a pair with the noteworthy “Trafalgar Dawn” the view from HMS Victory.
The British fleet of Lord Nelson as seen at approximately 06.15 Monday 21st October 1805.
We are the first people since eye witnesses to see quite accurately what the men of the Combined Fleet saw from the French flagship Bucentaure.
On the darker horizon a little after the British sighted the Combined Fleet, “a forest of masts” against the sunrise, the contrary perspective is seen of that fateful dawn.
The exact positions of the British ships has been much debated by scholars and naval officers for over two hundred years.
In 1911 the King appointed an Admiralty Committee to reveal what really happened at the battle of Trafalgar.
Their report published in 1913 formed the primary source for the layout of this painting. The secondary sources were the diaries, logs and maps drawn by the surviving French and Spanish officers of the Combined Fleet.
There were other sources.
Overall many corrections resulted from Frickers modern research bringing us an exceptional version here of that moment before the momentous event that was the battle of Trafalgar.
Meaning the layout of the British fleet shown here results from extensive research and new information discovered so represents the definitive impression.
Equipped with a letter of introduction from the then commander of HMS Victory, Mike Cheshire (thank you Mike) I visited and consulted in Britain, France at the Brest archives and naval museum and the Paris archives and naval museum.
In Spain the Madrid Marine archives and museum, Cadiz University and to San Sebastian Naval Base Museum as a guest of the Spanish Navy.
Consequently much was revealed that is not normally available to scholars.
I still have copies of all the reports and drawings made by surviving senior officers of the Combined Fleet immediately after the battle of Trafalgar.
They were unlucky with the weather and by British standards ill equipped and poorly trained.
Knowing this they never the less they chose to fight and many fought most gallantly.
Villeneuve’s appearance has been ‘borrowed’ from a contemporary a portrait, all the uniforms and clothing of the other men were also checked in detail so are reliable as a document.
I have endeavored to be faithful to the times and the spirit of Napoleon‘s sailors of whom Napoleon said he had ‘always liked his sailors and thought them very brave men‘.
After much travel, reading and research I can only agree completely.
Pierre Charles Jean Baptiste Silvestre de Villeneuve was born into an aristocratic family at Valensoles in Provence in 1763. He joined the French navy at the age of 15.
On the margin of the signed numbered prints Frickers has added a drawing and names each British ship individually.
All officers of the Combined Fleet reported that Nelson’s fleet was not in regular order.
Frickers says “I’ll try an make time to add a page with my sketches and notes for “Trafalgar Dawn The French Perspective“, or ask me…”
This picture complements the original Trafalgar Dawn, The view from H.M.S. Victory at 06.05, Monday 21st October 1805.
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Gordon Frickers © 21.07.2011 updated 19.03.15, 20.03.15, 27,04,16, 24.08.16, 26.01.2017
Most accounts of the Battle of Trafalgar story vary and they are full of errors, the majority of plans and paintings are equally misleading..
Here are some places to start.
WE must ask ourselves the following questions:
- Are readers given a plausible explanation?
- Who is the source?
- Is he really in a position to know what he claims? Has the reporter provided enough background info on the source to help us make our own judgment?
- Why can’t he be identified for the story?
- What are the source’s possible motives and those of the reporter?
- Is they fudging anything?
- Could the info have been obtained on the record from somewhere else?
and of course search several sources for ‘British admiral, Lord Nelson’
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