Terence Lee

Terence Lee biography...

The Final Farewell

Terence Lee The Final Farewell
Oil on Canvas
Canvas size : 18" x 24"
SOLD

The Final Farewell

In July 1805 following his pursuit of the combined fleet to the West Indies Vice Admiral Lord Nelson made Gibraltar where he struck his flag and returned to England and his beloved Merton. He had been at sea for the best part of two years. On the 2nd September Captain Henry Blackwood called at Merton to inform Nelson of the activity of the combined fleet which had taken refuge at Cadiz but appeared to be preparing for sea again. The Admiralty without question and by common consent directed Nelson to take over command of the Fleet from his old friend Cuthbert Collingwood. Nelson took over command on the 29th September, he was 47 years of age. He accepted this responsibility with resignation. Prior to leaving Merton for Portsmouth he wrote to an old friend, Captain Richard Keats “I am now set up for a conjurer and God knows they will very soon find out I am far from being one. I was asked my opinion against my inclination, for if I make one wrong guess the charm will be broken”.

At 0600 hrs on the 14th September1805 Nelson arrived at the George Hotel in Old Portsmouth. Later that day he left the hotel via the rear entrance to avoid the gathering crowd. His entourage made their way on foot to the Spur Redoubt where a large crowd had gathered to get a last glimpse of their hero. Here Nelson boarded his barge from the beach to be rowed out to where the Victory was moored at the fleet anchorage off St Helens at Spithead. As the barge pulled away from the shore Nelson turned to Hardy and quietly said, “I had their huzzas. I have their hearts now”. Captain Hardy had been directed to prepare the Victory for sea and indeed Nelson’s flag had been hoisted at 1130hrs that day. It was at this time that Nelson’s coffin was taken aboard the Victory. It was presented to Nelson by Captain Hallowell formerly of the Swiftsure and was made of wood from the main mast of the French L’Orient which was destroyed at the Battle of the Nile.

Victory weighed anchor at first light on the 15th September but with light northerly airs was obliged to anchor at 0600 hrs getting under way again at 0800 hrs finally clearing St Helens in light breezes. HMS Euryalus (Captain Henry Blackwood) accompanied the Victory until the 26th September and was also present at Trafalgar.

The painting shows Nelson being rowed out to his Flagship H.M.S. Victory moored at Spithead on the 14th September 1805. His flag is hoisted at the fore as Vice Admiral He is accompanied by Captain Hardy. In the right distance can be seen H.M.S. Euryalus. A 74 gun 3rd rate is moored on the larboard side of the Victory. Preparations are being made to secure one of the cutters to the Victory’s starboard quarter davits. Men can be seen aloft on the Victory and the Euryalus overhauling parts of the rigging in preparation for the morrow. A dockyard hoy is lying alongside Victory having unloaded stores.

H.M.S. Victory is a 104 gun first rate ship of the line. She was ordered in 1758 and laid down at Chatham Dockyard on the 23rd July1759 being launched in 1765. She was designed by naval architect Sir Thomas Slade. An interesting fact concerns the launch of the Victory. On the day of the proposed launching a shipwright – Hartly Larkin designated ‘foreman afloat’ realised that the hull was too wide to pass through the dock gates. Measurements were hastily taken and it was confirmed that the gate entrance was 9” too narrow. Every available shipwright was summoned and sufficient wood was hewn from each gate to enable the hull to pass through. Once afloat the hull assumed a distinct list to starboard which was corrected by extra ballast. However the lower gunports were found to be only 4’ 6” above the waterline which meant that in rough weather the ports would need to be closed. The implications of this for any action in any rough sea meant that the guns of the lower deck could not be used. Fortunately the Victory was not involved in an action in rough weather. Following Trafalgar due to her poor structural condition her future hung in the balance. On two occasions the Admiralty decided that she should be scrapped only to be thwarted by the strength of the public outcry and finally by a decision by King Edward VII that she should be saved. In 1922 her condition was such that she could longer remain afloat and was subsequently towed into No2 dry dock in Portsmouth Dockyard, the oldest dry dock in the world where she remains to this day as the oldest commissioned ship in the Royal Navy. On the 5 March 2012 ownership of the Victory passed from the M.O.D. to the H.M.S. Victory Preservation Trust. She is currently undergoing the most extensive restoration programme since Trafalgar. This work is being undertaken by Defence Equipment and Support and BAE Systems with a 5 year contract to be extended to 10 years if required. It will be 12 years before the masts will be back in place. The multi-million restoration programme will undoubtedly secure the Victory’s future for many years.

H.M.S. Euryalus was a 36 gun frigate of the Apollo class. Built by Henry Adams at Bucklers Hard on the River Beaulieu in Hampshire she was launched in 1803. The Euryalus (Captain Henry Blackwood) escorted H.M.S. Victory from Portsmouth to Cadiz and led a squadron of 4 frigates observing the combined fleet in the prelude to Trafalgar. The combined fleet eventually sailed on the 20th October 1805. During the battle the Euryalus took Admiral Collingwood’s badly damage flagship Royal Sovereign in tow turning her to enable her to engage the French ship Formidable. Following the death of Nelson, Admiral Collingwood took command and transferred his flag to the Euryalus thus giving the frigate the distinction of becoming the flag ship of the British fleet for a period of 10 days. Following Trafalgar, Euryalus saw service in the War of 1812. On the defeat of Napoleon H.M.S. Euryalus spent more than two decades as a prison hulk ending her days in Gibraltar where in 1860 she was sold for breaking up.

Terence Lee
8th June 2018

Dispatches for England

Terence Lee Dispatches for England
Oil on Canvas
Canvas size : 17" x 23"
Framed size : 23" x 29"
£3750
On the 19th June 1805 Vice Admiral Lord Nelson arrived at Antigua in the West Indies in his pursuit of Admiral Villeneuve and the Franco-Spanish fleet only to discover that they had sailed for Europe. Lord Nelson deployed the Curieux brig sloop under Lt. George Bettesworth with dispatches to warn the Lords of the Admiralty. On the journey to England at latitude 33 12’ north longitude 58 west the Curieux sighted the combined fleet sailing north by west then north-north-west. Curieux was a fast vessel which enabled Lt. Bettesworth to avoid action arriving at Plymouth on the 7th July. The dispatches enabled the Admiralty to make strategic deployments ahead of Admiral Villeneuve’s arrival which played an important part in determining the outcome of the Battle of Trafalgar.

The painting depicts the Curieux shortly after sighting the combined fleet. Despite the weather showing signs of deteriorating Lt. Bettesworth is driving his ship hard under a full press of sail close hauled on a starboard tack.

Curieux was built by Enterprise Eth’eart at St Malo to a design by Francois-Timoth’ee Pestel. She was laid down in October 1799 and launched on the 20th September 1800 the only one of her class at the time and the prototype for the curieux class of brigs which the French began building in 1803.

Curieux was captured by the British at Martinique on the 3rd February 1804 and commissioned into the Royal Navy as a brig sloop armed with 8 x 6 pdr guns and 10 x 24 pdr carronades. She carried a complement of 67 men. During her five years with the Royal Navy she captured several privateers and engaged in two notable actions.

On the 8th February 1805 she chased the French privateer Dame Ernouf for twelve hours before bringing her to action. After forty minutes of hard fighting she took Dame Ernouf which had a crew double that of Curieux. The action cost the Curieux five killed and four wounded. The Dame Ernouf had 30 killed and 41 wounded.

In March 1806 John Sheriff took over command of Curieux and she was re-armed with 8 x 6 pdr guns and 10 x18 pdr carronades. On the 3rd December1807 off Barbados she engaged the 25 gun privateer Revanche. This vessel had been the slaver British Tar and was more heavily armed with a crew of 200 men. Curieux’s shrouds and backstays were shot away and her two top masts and jib-boom damaged. With her captain dead, Lt Thomas Muir wanted to board the Revanche but too few crewmen were willing to follow him. Subsequently the two vessels broke off the action. In addition to her captain, Curieux had seven dead and 14 wounded. It was with some irony therefore that a subsequent court martial into why Lt. Muir had not taken or destroyed the enemy vessel mildly rebuked him for failing to hove-to in order to repair his vessel once it became obvious that Curieux was in no condition to overtake the Revanche.

On the 22nd September 1809 at about 0330 hrs Curieux struck a rock of Petit-Terre off the Iles des Saintes. The rock was 30 yards from the beach in 11feet of water. She was de-stored and her guns removed to HMS Hazard which managed to winch her off a quarter cable but Curieux slipped back and struck a reef when she bilged. The wreck was burnt to prevent it falling into enemy hands. A subsequent court martial found the officer of the watch, Lt John Felton guilty of negligence and he was dismissed from the service. An interesting post-script to this incident occurred on the 30th August 1860 when the Prince of Wales visited Sherbrooke in Canada to where Felton had emigrated. The Prince exercised his Royal prerogative and pardoned Felton restoring him to his former naval rank.

An Admiralty draft of the Curieux was taken off at Plymouth in 1805. Unfortunately the detail of the figurehead is missing and it has not been possible to determine what figurehead she carried. I have therefore decide to show the vessel with a simple scroll. Indeed by that period economies had been applied in the building of naval vessels particularly in respect of ship decoration and British built brigs rarely carried any figurehead or other elaborate decorations. The quarter galleries are false.

The draft also shows the channels fixed at deck level. This was a feature of French built brigs and is evidence that the bulwarks were lightly constructed. The French appear to have placed emphasis on speed rather than sea-keeping qualities. It is highly likely that following capture, the Curieux’s upper works required reconstruction in order to enable them to withstand the 24 and 32 pdr carronades fitted in British service. The channels would have been raised as shown in the painting. Indeed evidence of this fact is shown in Nicholas Pocock’s painting of the Curieux leaving Antiqua on her return to England in 1805. He shows the channels raised above deck level. Pocock was an experienced sailor having commanded ships. His work can therefore be relied upon to accurately reflect the technical aspects of ships of the period.

French built ships were not highly regarded by high ranking British naval officers due mainly to their light build and inadequate fastenings which did not stand up to the rigours imposed in British naval service. They frequently required expensive and lengthy refits which necessitated them being taken out of service. However French ship design enjoyed a popularity among junior naval officers primarily due I suspect to their fast sailing qualities. Contemporary Admiralty drafts of the Curieux show a sharp mid–ship section which suggests she was capable of a good turn of speed. This was demonstrated in practise during her fast passage from Antiqua to Plymouth in June/July 1805.

A final interesting fact about the Curieux concerns a former crew member. Lt Provo Wallis (1791 – 1892) later Admiral of the Fleet established a record for the length of naval service in the British Royal Navy. Records show that his name was still carried on the active list when he died at the fine age of 100years!

Terence Lee
7th August 2017

Advance Squadron

Terence Lee Advance Squadron
Oil on Canvas
Canvas size : 24” x 30”
SOLD

Cochrane’s Coastal Raids

Terence Lee Cochrane’s Coastal Raids
Oil on Canvas
Canvas size : 24” x 32”
SOLD

HMS Victory at Portsmouth November 1812

Terence Lee HMS Victory at Portsmouth November 1812
Oil on Canvas
Canvas size : 24" x 36"
SOLD

HMS Sylph in pursuit of the L’Artemise

Terence Lee HMS Sylph in pursuit of the L’Artemise
SOLD

"As a follower of John Chancellor for many years I was immediately drawn to the three pictures by Terence Lee in your gallery today. The fact that you only have two now and my immediate decision to purchase one of them is a testament to the artist!

His work is quite outstanding, and in many ways I feel he has carried on where Chancellor left off. He must surely rank as one of our great contemporary marine artists.

Kind regards
Chris"

St Fiorenzo taking the Frigate Piemontaise

St Fiorenzo taking the Frigate Piemontaise
Oil on Canvas
Canvas size : 24" x 36"
SOLD
Davidson Fine Art
22 High St, Totnes, Devon
01803 865774