John Christian Schetky (British 1778-1874)
H.M.S. Talbot, Captain Hon. F. Spencer in Action on Naverino, 20 October 1827
Oil on canvas
Signed and dated 1831 lower left, inscribed to label verso
67 x 108cm (26¼ x 42½ in.)
Provenance: Provenance: From the Collection of the late Max Harari
Reputedly purchased from the 8th Earl Spencer, Althorp House, Northamptonshire
Six ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Talbot. The Talbot depicted here was an Atholl Class 28-gun frigate, a sixth rate ship of the line launched from Pembroke Dockyards in 1824, converted to a powder hulk in 1855 and sold out in 1896. The ship had a crew of 175 officers and ratings. Other assignments of note include Inglefield's Artic Expedition of 1854.
The Battle of Navarino, 20 October 1827
The Battle of Navarino, 20 October 1827
The last major naval battle to be fought entirely with sailing ships
The Battle of Navarino was a naval battle fought during the Greek War of Independence (182132), in Navarino Bay, on the west coast of the Peloponnese peninsula. An Ottoman fleet, which included imperial warships and squadrons from the eyalets of Egypt and Tunis, was decisively defeated by an Allied force of British, French and Russian warships.
The context of the three Great Powers' intervention was the Russian Empire's gradual, but determined, expansion into the decaying Ottoman Empire. Russia's geostrategic ambitions in the region were seen as a major threat by the other European powers, who feared the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of Russian hegemony in the Eastern Mediterranean. The enabling factor was Orthodox Russia's inevitable support for their Greek co-religionists, who had rebelled against Ottoman rule in 1821. Despite official British interest in maintaining the Ottoman Empire, the British public strongly supported the Greeks. Fearing unilateral Russian action, and thus a faster envelopment of the region, Britain and France bound Russia by treaty to a joint intervention which aimed to secure Greek autonomy whilst still preserving Ottoman territorial integrity. The Powers agreed, by signing the Treaty of London (1827), to force the Ottoman government to grant the Greeks autonomy within the empire. To enforce this policy they despatched naval squadrons to the Eastern Mediterranean.
The naval battle happened more by accident than by design as a result of a manoeuvre by the Allied commander-in-chief, Admiral Edward Codrington, aimed at coercing the Ottoman commander to obey Allied instructions. Codrington even ordered a brass band to play on the deck of his ship to emphasise his peaceful intentions. There was no attempt by the Ottoman batteries to restrict allied movement into Navarino Bay, however a launch was sent carrying a message from Ibrahim Pasha, which objected to Coddringtons presence and demanded his total withdrawal. Codrington dismissed Ibrahim's objection, replying that he had come to give orders, not to take them. He warned that if the Ottomans opened fire, their fleet would be destroyed. It was when this strategy was thwarted by the Ottoman trumpet signal to prepare for action that fighting broke out.
During the battle, the British frigates Armide and Talbot initially had to face the frigates on the Ottoman right wing and the island shore battery unsupported, as the other two frigates arrived later. They were saved from annihilation by the arrival of the Russian frigates.
The sinking of almost the entire Ottoman Mediterranean fleet by the overwhelmingly superior allied firepower at Navarino protected the fledgling Greek Republic from collapse. It would however require two more military interventions by Russia in the form of the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-9, and by a French expeditionary force to the Peloponnese to force the withdrawal of Ottoman forces from central and southern Greeceto finally secure Greek independence.
Although mostly fought at anchor, The Battle of Navarino was the last major naval battle in history to be fought entirely with sailing ships.
D. Dakin, The Greek Struggle for Independence, (1973)
W. James Naval History of Great Britain (Vol. VI), (1837)
S. Runciman, The Fall of Constantinople 1453, Cambridge University Press, (1965)
C. M. Woodhouse, The Battle of Navarino, (1965)
Captain Hon. F. Spencer, later 4th Earl Spencer (1789-1857)
Spencer joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman on 18 September 1811. He served for a time under his brother, Captain the Hon. Robert Cavendish Spencer as a lieutenant aboard his ship HMSOwen Glendower, before receiving his own command, that of the brig HMSAlacrity on the South America Station. He was promoted to the rank of captain on 26 August 1822 and eventually rose to the rank of Vice-Admiral. He succeeded his elder brother as Earl Spencer in 1845. After retirement from the Royal Navy he held political office as Lord Chamberlain of the Household between 1846 and 1848 and as Lord Steward of the Household between 1854 and 1857. In 1849 he was made a Knight of the Garter.
Lord Spencer died at the family seat at Althorp House, Northamptonshire, in December 1857, aged 59, and was succeeded in the earldom by his only son from his first marriage, John, who also became a prominent Liberal politician.
John Christian Schetky (11 August 1778 29 January 1874)
Schetky was a Scottish marine painter.
He studied art under Alexander Nasmyth. In 1808 he obtained a post in the Royal Military College at Great Marlow; and three years later he was appointed professor of drawing in the Royal Naval College, Portsmouth. Following the abolition of the Naval College, he held a similar professorship between 1836 and 1855 at the East India Company's Military Seminary at Addiscombe, Surrey.
From 1805 to 1872 he contributed periodically to the Royal Academy summer exhibitions, and he was represented at the Westminster Hall competition of 1847 by a large oil painting of the Battle of La Hogue. He would eventually become the marine painter to George IV, WIlliam IV and Queen Victoria.
One of his best-known works, the Loss of the Royal George, painted in 1840, is now in Tate Britain.
A yellowing varnish causing discoloration throughout, especially visible to the clouds and sky. Surface dirt and craquelure throughout. An area of loss, with associated cupping and flaking to the lower right corner (approx. 6cm) A small hole with associated loss to the lower left quadrant (approx. 2cm). UV reveals some evidence of retouching to the lower framing edge. UV reveals a cloudy masking varnish which may be concealing evidence and extent of retouching.
Condition Report Amendment: UV reveals some evidence of retouching to the lower framing edge. CONDITION REPORT DISCLAIMER
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