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Huggins’ painting is one of many that were produced by British marine artists in the decades following the 1807 Act of Abolition of the British slave trade, showing Navy vessels in action against mainly Spanish and Portuguese vessels still engaged in the Atlantic slave trade. Here the Spanish slaving brig 'Formidable' is taken by HM brigantine 'Buzzard', 10 guns, an action that took place on 17 December 1834. The 'Buzzard' intercepted the Spanish ship, loaded with slaves for the Middle Passage, in the Bight of Benin, off the west coast of Africa. After 45 minutes, the 'Formidable' surrendered with the loss of seven men. Two of the crew of the 'Buzzard' were killed. The captured ship was taken to Freetown, Sierra Leone, but not before 307 of the cargo of 707 African slaves 'perished from disease and misery'.
The Capture of the Slaver 'Formidable' by HMS 'Buzzard', 17 December 1834
oil on canvas
H 38 x W 54.5 cm