26¾ x 55. Signed. Richard Green, 2000. Identified as a British man-o-war saluting a Russian, possibly in the Sound.


B. Contemporary actions from 1704 to 1739

After 1720, at the conclusion of war with Spain, there were virtually no naval actions until 1739. During the years 1704 to 1718 Monamy would have been insufficiently well-known to be commissioned to record contemporary actions, but may have "come into reputation" by about 1718, and had direct access to descriptions of the Battle of Cape Passaro. Byng's triumphs in 1706-08 were not painted until 1725, 15-20 years later. The remainder of this period, apart from a flurry of naval interest relating to Gibraltar in 1726/27, was superficially peaceful, although there was a strong undercurrent of concern in many sectors about England's passivity. This finally boiled over in 1739, with the War of Jenkins' Ear, the prelude to almost continuous naval wars with Spain and France. The prize being fought for throughout the eighteenth century was global dominion of the seas, and control of world trade. Possession of Gibraltar was symbolic of maritime mastery.

The Rock, by Peter Monamy: perhaps painted about 1727

4/8 (or 4/7 or 24/7?). Byng directs cannonade and leads advance squadron at capture of Gibraltar: a combined English and Dutch action under Sir George Rooke and Sir Cloudesley Shovell.
13/8. Rooke, Shovell and Leake defeat French under the Comte de Toulouse off Velez Malaga. Byng distinguishes himself in the battle, and is knighted by Queen Anne, 22/10. Action engraved after I.Sailmaker. See previous page.

10/3. Leake destroyed or took five French ships of the line off Cabrita Point.
14/10. The English fleet, under Sir Cloudesley Shovell and the Earl of Peterborough, takes Barcelona from the French under the Prince of Hessen.

8/5. Relief of Barcelona. Vale says 27th April, eleven days earlier. The difference is due to the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, adopted in Britain in 1752. Siege raised 22/5.

Relief of Barcelona: signed H.Vale and dated 1713


BARCELONA Releiv'd by Sr John Leake Vice Admiral of the White and Commander in Chief of ye Confederate Fleet April ye 27 Anno 1706.

The disposition of the ships suggests that Vale's painting was meant for Leake, whereas Monamy's gives greater prominence to the squadron commanded by Sir George Byng, later Lord Torrington.

Relief of Barcelona: signed Monamy and dated 1725

20/7. Bombardment of Alicante. Leake ordered Byng to bombard the city, which was under siege by the French. Byng commanded an advance squadron under Leake.

12/5. Act of Union with Scotland. Change of canton in ensign flags of Royal Navy.


Left are some suggestions for joining the red cross of St George with the white saltire of St Andrew in a flag uniting England and Scotland under the Stuarts, before the design in the canton of the right-hand ensign below was adopted, in the early 17th century. This was flown at the main until 1801. The St George's cross remained unchanged in the canton of the ensign until 1707. The incident heading this page thus took place after 1707.

July and August. Bombardment of Toulon, by Dilkes, under Shovell and Prince Eugene.
25/8. Seth Jermy's defence of the Nightingale.
10/10. Destruction or capture of an English squadron by Du Guay Trouin and Fourbin.
23/10. Byng, in the Royal Anne, lucky to escape shipwreck off the Scilly Isles. Shovell's ship, the Association, was lost, and Admiral Shovell killed by a thief on land as he crawled from the water.

1/3. Blockade of Dunkirk. By 15/3 Fourbin's attempt to land the Old Pretender, James III, at Edinburgh, had been foiled, by Byng's prompt and effective action.
28/5. Wager's action off Cartagena. Sir Charles Wager and the West Indian Squadron defeat a Spanish fleet off Baru. This action appears to have been much later painted by Scott, but apparently not by Monamy. See here.
30/10. Surrender of Port Mahon, Minorca.

Blockade of Dunkirk

Captain Woodes Rogers, on a privateering expedition, rescues Alexander Selkirk,
30/7. Kent, 70, took Superbe, 56, off the Lizard.

September 12-21. Dugay Trouin's attack on Rio de Janeiro. England was allied with Portugal, but no English force was involved in this incident.
15/10. Edgar, 70, blew up at Spithead with most of her crew.

12/1. Peace Congress opened at Utrecht. 17/1. War of the Spanish Succession ending.

11/4. Peace of Utrecht. Spain cedes Gibraltar and Minorca to Britain as part of the peace conditions.

1/8. Death of Queen Anne. Whigs proclaimed the Elector of Hanover King, and instructed Lord Berkeley to bring him to England in the Peregrine Yacht, which arrived 18/9. Accession of King George I, August 1st.

2/8. Quadruple Alliance of Austria, England, Holland, France against Spain.
11/8. Battle of Cape Passaro. Byng completely destroys Spanish Navy. Byng receives warmly worded, personally written thanks of "votre bon amy, George R" for this action.
28/12. England declares war against Spain (4 months later!).

Battle of Cape Passaro

17/2. Peace between Spain and Quadruple Alliance.

1/5. Pragmatic Sanction: Austria agrees to aid Spain to recover Gibraltar.

Spain prepared for siege of Gibraltar at end of 1726. Wager sailed for the rock on Jan 19, 1727. Brief war between England and Spain. Hostilities ceased June 16, 1727.

12/6. Death of George I. Accession of George II.

sketch possibly representing a royal occasion in connection with George II

11/2 - 16/6. Wager co-operated in defence of Gibraltar.
11/3. Royal Oak, 70, took N.S.del Rosario, 47.
Admiral Hosier's fleet ravaged by yellow fever in Caribbean. He and 4,000 officers and seamen die.

8/2. Hosier's body is brought back from West Indies, buried with "great funeral pomp" at St Nicholas' Church, Deptford. (DNB).
6/3. Convention of Prado. End of war between Spain and England.

12/9. Robert Jenkins, captain of a Scots merchant ship, has his ear cut off by Spanish Guarda Costas in the West Indies. Captain Fandino gave the order (DNB), but the actual perpetrator is said to have been named Apolonko (Poem on the War in the West Indies by a Country Curate).

17/1. Death of George Byng, Viscount Torrington. Buried at Southill, Bedfordshire.

Jenkins appears before Parliament to obtain justice for his ear. His story was verified by examination of Admiralty Records in 1889.

9/7. Edward Vernon (1684-1757) promoted to Vice-Admiral.

a naval battle, "circle of pieter monamy", christie new york, 12 oct 1989, 27½ x 45½
this appears later to be the battle of cape passaro, signed vale: see here

battles pre 1704
battles post 1739
battles: introductory
timeline 1697-1750
monamy website index
artistic range


© Charles Harrison Wallace 2001, 2003
all rights reserved