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The Frigate 'Triton'

Photo credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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This ship's portrait was painted for Vice-Admiral James Gambier, Lord Gambier. He was a Lord of the Admiralty at the time it was painted in 1797 and was the designer of the fifth-rate frigate, 'Triton', built as an experiment at Deptford in 1796 with timbers of fir rather than oak. The ship's portrait is small and detailed, showing the 'Triton' in three positions sailing in a fresh breeze. The principal view shows her hove-to, with the foretopsail and foretopgallant backed, with her seamen engaging in hoisting the foresails and communicating with the two-masted lugger in the right foreground, which may have just picked up a pilot from the ship before heading home. 'Triton' was later involved with three other British frigates in the capture of two Spanish treasure ships in the Bay of Biscay, on 16 October 1799, an action which made a fortune for all four captains.

National Maritime Museum





oil on canvas


H 40 x W 56 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

National Maritime Museum (Greenwich Hospital Collection)

Work type



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National Maritime Museum

Romney Road, Greenwich, London, Greater London SE10 9NF England

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