The Destruction of 'L'Orient' at the Battle of the Nile, 1 August 1798

Image credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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On 19th May 1798, Napoleon sailed from Toulon on his hazardous adventure to Egypt, capturing Malta on the way. On 1st August, Nelson sighted Alexandria, with its harbour full of shipping and French flags, although none were ships of the line. When 'Zealous', 74 guns, sighted the French battle fleet anchored in Aboukir Bay, 15 miles east of Alexandria, Nelson, as the Rear-Admiral aboard 'Vanguard', 74 guns, headed there and prepared his ships for action. This portrayal of the action is lit by the exploding French 'L'Orient', 120 guns, the French Vice-Admiral Brueys's flagship, in starboard-quarter view, on the left of the picture, its vivid orange glow lighting up the night sky. The explosion happened at 10.00pm and killed the Admiral and most of the ship's company.

National Maritime Museum



The Destruction of 'L'Orient' at the Battle of the Nile, 1 August 1798




oil on canvas


H 18.5 x W 26.9 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

National Maritime Museum (Greenwich Hospital Collection)

Work type



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