Home Dealers Calendar Articles Fine Art Database About AFA Login/Register
Home | Dealers | Gardner, Richard Antiques | The Bombardment of Algiers
Thomas Luny British  1759 - 1837
The Bombardment of Algiers
Oil on Canvas
55.5 x 80 inches, sight
Category: Paintings - Non-American
Origin: England-UK
Era: 19th Century
AFA Issue or
Dealer Reference#:
Early Summer 2003
Thomas Luny (British, 1759-1837); The Bombardment of Algiers; Oil on canvas, 55-1/2 x 80 inches (141 x 203.25 cm); Signed and dated 1820

Thomas Luny was a London born painter of marine subjects. He studied with Francis Holman and exhibited at the Royal Academy until 1793, when he joined the Royal Navy at the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars. Luny retired from the Navy in about 1810 due to rheumatoid arthritis and settled in Teignmouth where he continued to work until the end of his life. There are examples of the artist's work in a great many museums around the world, including forty at the National Maritime Museum, and others at Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and the Peabody Museum of Sail, Salem, Massachusetts.

This is one of an important pair of paintings to commemorate Admiral Lord Exmouth's great action following Napoleon's final defeat. In 1816 Exmouth was ordered to visit several North African countries to obtain the release of all British subjects, but met opposition from the Bey of Algiers who refused to abolish Christian slavery. After further incidents in Algiers it was determined that action should be taken and Exmouth set out from Plymouth on 28th July 1816 with two three-deckers, the Queen Charlotte and the Impregnable, three 74-gun ships, one of 50 guns, four frigates and nine smaller vessels. At Gibraltar he was joined by a squadron of Dutch frigates and reached Algiers on 27th August. At two o'clock that afternoon no answer had been received to his demand for the release of Christian slaves and an abolition of slavery, so he gave order to attack. The fire of batteries was returned by the ships and a fierce action commenced, lasting for eight hours. The batteries were silenced and much of the town destroyed and Exmouth's demands were granted leading to the release of three thousand slaves. He returned in triumph and was created a viscount and given the freedom of the City of London together with a richly decorated sword. Many European countries also showed their gratitude and he was made Knight of the Spanish order of Charles III, the Neapolitan order of St Ferdinand, the Netherlands order of Wilhelm and the Sardinian Order of St Maurice and St Lazarus. A valuable cameo was also sent to him by the Pope.

Edward Pellow, later Viscount Exmouth, was the son of Samuel Pellow, commander of a Dover packet and a member of an old Cornish family. He entered the navy in 1770 and first saw active service in America where he served with gallantry and was given command of the Carleton. He fought with Burgoyne at Saratoga where his brother John was killed and he was taken prisoner. Further commands followed and when war with France broke out he was appointed to the 36-gun frigate, the Nymphe, for whom he enlisted eighty Cornish mines. In their first action he captured the French frigate Cleopatra, the first to be taken in the war, for which success he was knighted. He was appointed to the Arethusa and joined Warren's squadron which had notable successes off Ushant. In 1796, following his personal gallantry in saving the large transport ship the Dutton from disaster in a violent gale, he was created a baronet and given the freedom of Plymouth. He was then put in command of a group of frigates off the French coast and as commander of the Indefatigable, assisted by the Amazon, he successfully engaged the 74-gun Droite de l'Homme in a fierce battle. In 1799 he was in command of the Impetueux on which he took a personal role in quelling a mutiny. In 1804 he was promoted to rear admiral and commander in chief in the East Indies, and effectively protected merchantmen from French attacks. He became particularly noted for his care for the health and comfort of his men, and his insistence on a monthly return of punishment became generally adopted by the Admiralty. In 1810 he became Commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean. In 1814 he was made Baron of Exmouth, admiral of the blue and the next year a G.C.B.

Provenance: Property of a Gentleman; The Property of the Canonteign Estate; By descent in the family of Viscount Exmouth.

Antiques and Fine Art is the leading site for antique collectors, designers, and enthusiasts of art and antiques. Featuring outstanding inventory for sale from top antiques & art dealers, educational articles on fine and decorative arts, and a calendar listing upcoming antiques shows and fairs.