Researched over several years, there is a complex theme behind this marine painting,
treasure, piracy, marine transport, pride, self defense, national interests, all and more compete in this tale.
The loss of the “Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes”. measures 30 x 45 cms (12″ x 18″), oils, available, You can acquire this splendid painting via our Payment page or contact Gordon Frickers.
Payments can be arranged in easy stages.
The history and politics:
Britain and Spain were not at war but the British government had been lead to believe the vast treasure they knew to be shipping from America on Royal Spanish frigates, the equivalent of a whole year’s income for Spain, was to be used by Spain to help finance Napoleon’s wars against Britain which Spain planned to join.
Although not ready for battle his honour and pride forbade the Spanish Admiral surrender.
Full size measures 30 x 45 cms (12″ x 18″), Oils, available.
This painting shows 3 of the British frigates positioned off the lee bows of their opponents and the fatal moment at about 09:40, 9 minutes into the action.
Very considerable consequences:
This was an action to which the Spanish gave the ugly name of ‘piracy‘.
It brought Spain into the Napoleonic war on the side of France.
The British intelligence was later proved unsound…
Results included a powerful Spanish fleet with Admiral Villeneuve at Trafalgar and many wearisome years in Portugal and Spain for the British Army.
The blunder caused a huge row in the British parliament which threatened to bring down the government.
Questions asked in the London Parliament included: why the violence when not at war with Spain? Why were larger British ships not sent (then the Spanish could have surrendered honourable with out shots being fired)? Will compensation be paid the Spanish government and the families of civilians lost when “las Mercedes” blew up and sank?
Controversial dives made:
Recently Odyssey Marine Exploration found the wreck of “Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes”, and much of the treasure.
Who owns the wreck?
As usual lawyers and courts are the first beneficiaries; the Spanish Government, the USA, Odyssey Marine Exploration, the descendants of the people? Even Peru has put in a claim.
See also Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc’s Project Black Swan, website and newsletters.
Principal source and special thanks to W.M. James for The Naval History of Great Britain volume 3, first published between 1820 and 1824.
This painting ‘The Loss of Las Mercedes‘can be acquired via this web site, ‘Payment Page’ or by contacting Gordon Frickers; payment in easy stages can be arranged.
The picture was shown at the Gordon Frickers Fine Art exhibition at the European Parliament, Brussels, May 2011 measures 30 x 45 cms (12″ x 18″), Oils, available.
Payments can be made in easy stages.
© Gordon Frickers December 22nd, 2010, revised 16 January 2015, 26.10.2016.