Nelson Receiving the Surrender of the 'San Josef' at the Battle of Cape St Vincent, 14 February 1797

Image credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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An interpretation of an incident during the French Revolutionary War, following the Battle of Cape St Vincent, 1797. The last decade of the eighteenth century was a period of extreme upheaval across Europe. Late in 1796, after Spain made peace with Revolutionary France, the British were forced to withdraw from the Mediterranean. Commodore Nelson organized the evacuation of Corsica, and Admiral Jervis, based at Gibraltar, concentrated on blockading the Spanish fleet in its Atlantic ports, especially Cadiz. When Spanish ships, aiming for Brest to join the French, were seen passing through the Straits of Gibraltar on 5 February 1797, on their way to Cadiz, Nelson set sail towards Cape St Vincent, hoping to find Jervis. He found the British squadron off Cape St Vincent on 13 February and immediately repaired on board 'Victory', 100 guns, to discuss with Jervis the preparations for the inevitable battle.

National Maritime Museum



Nelson Receiving the Surrender of the 'San Josef' at the Battle of Cape St Vincent, 14 February 1797




oil on canvas


H 146 x W 196.5 cm

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