'Temeraire' opens fire, Battle of Trafalgar 21st October, 1805

Steven Dews

Title‘Temeraire’ opens fire, Battle of Trafalgar 21st October, 1805
ArtistSteven Dews
Size (W x H)174 x 122 cm
Edition Size1805

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HMS Temeraire follows HMS Victory into the French fleet, whilst HMS Victory broke into the French line between the French flagship, Bucentaure and Redoutable, she fired a devastating short range carronade through the stern galleries of the French flagship. The next in line, Redoutable, in an attempt to protect the French flagship, sailed very close to her stern. HMS Victory collided with Redoutable’s port bow swinging round to lay along Redoutable's port side. After about twenty minutes of the muzzle to muzzle fighting, Lord Nelson was mortally wounded by a musket ball fired from Redoutable’s mizzen top as he and Captain Hardy paced the main deck.

HMS Temeraire, on the left of the painting, sailed under Redoutable’s stern to engage her starboard side. Due to the lack of wind, this was a slow process drawing simultaneous fire from several enemy ships. As Temeraire was a three-decker she had the advantage of being much higher than the two-decker Redoutable, so whilst sailing under her stern she fired across Redoutable's main deck clearing it of a boarding party about to attempt taking HMS Victory. However, before she had gained Redoutable’s starboard side, Temeraire sustained considerable damage and once alongside, had her rig reduced to a tangle of smashed spars. Redoutable’s main and foremast crashed down on Temeraire’s and Temeraire’s topmasts fell over Redoutable locking the two ships together.

Meanwhile, Victory’s guns pounded Redoutable on the opposite side but could not board to take the ship as Redoutable’s lower gun ports had been shut in an attempt to prevent this. Eventually, Victory broke free and manoeuvred into a position where she could board and then took the ship.

Each print is hand signed by the artist and hand numbered.

About the Artist

Steven Dews

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.

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