Trafalgar Dawn, the French Perspective

Le catastrophe de Trafalgar.  The Trafalgar Collection
Trafalgar Dawn, the French Perspective

Trafalgar Dawn, the French Perspective


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.

Detail from Trafalgar Dawn, the French Perspective Detail from Trafalgar Dawn, the French Perspective Detail from Trafalgar Dawn, the French Perspective

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.

The Painting

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.

Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve

Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve

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.

Sketch for Trafalgar Dawn, the French Perspective

Sketch for Trafalgar Dawn, the French Perspective

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…”

Frickers at Cape Trafalgar with French companions

Frickers at Cape Trafalgar with French companions

This picture complements the original Trafalgar Dawn, The view from H.M.S. Victory at 06.05, Monday 21st October 1805.


You are cordially invited to follow

Contact Us

T: + 44 (0)1865 52 2435 or Skype ‘gordonfrickers’


You could acquire or commission a painting like this.

You can purchase via our ‘Payments page using Paypal or bank to bank

By arrangement payments can be in installments.

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Copyright 2016: Please read carefully.

For professional purposes we are happy to issue licences.

Always credit his name and where possible this web site.

Quoting your source helps your credibility, the artist and others to find and enjoy this art.

For educational and private use we allow a free copy. However please note; as with all artist’s work, by International law these pictures and texts belong to the artist and his descendants, so may only be copied after written permission and for commercial use, after a copyright fee has been agreed and paid.

Respect the long hours, years, the art and texts, don’t infringe.

Our fees are friendly our terms always reasonable.

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:

  1. Are readers given a plausible explanation?
  2. Who is the source?
  3. 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?
  4. Why can’t he be identified for the story?
  5. What are the source’s possible motives and those of the reporter?
  6. Is they fudging anything?
  7. Could the info have been obtained on the record from somewhere else?

French Admiral Pierre Charles Villeneuve

and of course search several sources for ‘British admiral, Lord Nelson’


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