Relief of Barcelona: inscribed and signed P.Monamy:Pinx:1725; low right

Castle of Monjuic

Barcelona and Alicante are both signed; Dunkirk and Cape Passaro are not. Very difficult to say if this has any tremendous significance.


1704 Gibraltar
1706 Barcelona 1
1706 Alicante
1708 Dunkirk
1718 Cape Passaro

Relief of Barcelona
phase two

Two batteries, held by the French, maintained their fire during the landing of the troops and as the rest of the allied fleet were coming up: one below the Castle of Monjuic and the other in the further distance, at left.

The Fleet here consists of sixteen English of the White squadron, including Leake, and six Dutch.

Not much can be made out of the Dutch contingent in this image. Some of the small vessels are Spanish. Two ships of the White, right, are said in the notes to be the Ranelagh, 80 guns, and the Leopard, 50 guns, but there seems no hope of identifying them by their sterns, although a better photograph will resolve the detail. It is very odd to see the union in the ensign canton in May 1706. Inexplicable.

Fifteen white ensigns can be counted above; the sixteenth is seen in the detail, below left.

A marine painter who had been at the trade for over 20 years, and had lived through the change, could not help but know the flag in his painting predated its introduction. This and the other canvases were not completed in an afternoon. He had time to get everything right. Anachronisms were perhaps less important in an age still capable of painting its heroes in Roman dress. Sir James Thornhill decided to depict the accession of George I not as it happened, but as it should have happened.

After Byng and Wassenaer had landed the first wave of redcoats on the beach at Barcelona, Leake came up with the Earl of Peterborough, who brought another twelve hundred infantry, in a number of small Spanish boats. The town's inhabitants had expected to be stormed by the French that night, and were relieved by this relief. After a couple of days the Marshal de Tessé decamped with his besieging forces, abandoning 129 cannon and large quantities of stores. They cut their way back to the French border, but had lost six thousand men, whereas the garrison had lost a thousand. On the day the siege was raised there occurred an eclipse of the sun.

Byng's next engagement was ten weeks later, at Alicante on July 20th, where the roles of besieger and besieged were reversed.

The annotator mentions a "replica" of Monamy's painting. Was he thinking of Vale's preceding work?

See here for comparison and contrast between the above two paintings.

a city popular with the english tourist: from an opposite point of view

1706 Barcelona 1
battles pre 1704       battles 1704-1739
battles post 1739
battle paintings pre 1704

Byng's Battles by Humphrey Vale

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© Charles Harrison Wallace 2001, 2003, 2012
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