Battle of Trafalgar was the greatest one on the age of fighting sail and marked a key turning point in Napoleon’s campaign to secure European domination. Napolean’s armies may have been all-conquering but the British had mastery of the seas. On October 21st 1805, the combined fleet of 33 French and Spanish ships, under the command of the French Admiral Villeneuve, was confronted by a fleet of 27 ships of the Royal Navy, led by Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson on board the Victory, off Cape Trafalgar, on the Spanish coast. Rather than fight broadside-to-broadside in two long lines, Nelson’s unusual plan was to attack the French and Spanish line in two columns from the west and hope to break straight through the centre, effectively dividing the fleet and bringing the British into close action with the enemy, where their experience and superior gunnery would prevail. The focus of Steven Dew’s remarkable painting is the moment at which Victory flanked by the Temeraire, broke through the enemy lines, sustaining and exchanging a severe pounding as she passed Villeneuve’s French flagship Bucentaure, shown sailing out of the picture. This was just before the moment at which Nelson was first hit by the musket ball from which he would die four hours later, at the moment of his greatest victory.
Each print is hand numbered and accompanied by a certificate signed by the artist. The certificate is numbered to match the print.
Described by Sotheby’s of London as “the best, there’s nobody else to touch him”, Steven Dews is a man at the peak of his profession.
Born in Yorkshire in 1949, Steven Dews’s meteoric rise to success from distinctly unpromising beginnings should be an inspiration to all young artists; he failed his Art “A” Level and then walked out of a Fine Arts Degree course after only a few weeks because of his disillusionment with the teaching methods, yet his work has now placed him at the pinnacle of the marine art world.
Steven Dews’s love affair with art and the sea began at the age of 5, when he had a picture of a ship displayed on the wall at St John’s Infant School. He inherited his passion for ships and the sea from his grandfather, who was an Assistant Harbour Master in Hull.
Steven Dews built up an astonishing portfolio for his first exhibition in 1976 and, on the exhibition’s first night, virtually his entire collection was sold. The following year he held an exhibition in San Francisco which also sold out to great critical acclaim and, since then, Steven Dews has continued exhibiting regularly at leading galleries in London and throughout the world. He is now commissioned for several years in advance.
Confirmation of his pre-eminence came in the Sotheby’s sale of Maritime Art in London in 1999, where his original, entitled Off Cowes, sold for the phenomenal price of £89,500 ($165,000). This result followed on quickly from the sale at auction in 1998 of the Steven Dews painting An Opportune Breeze from the South East for £52,800.
Steven Dews’s spectacular canvas, The Battle of Trafalgar, reached a new world record price for the artist when it was auctioned in Bond Street, London, in the summer of 2005. The eventual buyer paid over £95,000 for this painting (approximately US$170,000), which was the highlight of a day-long sale to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Nelson’s great victory at Trafalgar. The original painting is one of the largest the artist has ever created, with dimensions of 40” x 66”; the painting took seven years from commission to final completion. It has also been published by Rosenstiel’s as a limited edition print in seven formats across both paper and canvas.
In September 2012, his record price was broken again when the painting Battle of Trafalgar sold at Bonhams in London for £170,000.