Fine art print on paper
200 x 270mm
This illustration is from a magnificent, 900-plus-pages, three-volume illustrated history of the British Navy, published in London between 1890 and 1893 at the height of Queen Victoria's British Empire.
The book was written by Charles Rathbone Low with dozens of illustrations by W.F. Mitchell and W. Christian Symons. Mitchell produced all the book's illustrations of boats and ships while Symons was the artist creating the character pictures of ordinary sailors and their officers.
The book, entitled "Her Majesty's Navy" chronicles and illustrates the "deeds and battles" of the navies defending Britain, attacking her enemies, making great discoveries and colonising new lands from the establishment in the 11th Century of a Saxon navy for the kingdom of King Alfred the Great. The book runs all the way through wars with the French, the Norwegians, the Spanish, the Dutch and almost everybody else until the Dreadnought era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was written when the mighty Royal Navy had truly ruled all the world's oceans for more than a century after its victory at the the Battle of Trafalgar had ended Napoleon's sea power in 1805. British naval policy at that time was to maintain a navy bigger than the world's next six biggest navies combined.