TIMELINE 1755-1794
Enter Francis Swaine

28 May. Major George Washington, aged 22, at Great Meadows, by the fork on the banks of the Ohio and Allegheny rivers, fires the shots that sparked the Seven Years War.

8/6 Boscawen took Alcide and Lys

12/2 Watson and Pocock took Geriah
20/5 Admiral John Byng's action with La Gallisoniere off Minorca, leading to his execution, a year later.
28/12 to 2/1/57 Watson's operations at and capture of Calcutta


Execution of Admiral John Byng, March 14th, 1757

"To encourage the others." The effect was electrifying.

14/5 Antelope 50 destroyed Aquilon 50
22/9 Southampton 32 took Emeraude 28
21/10 Forrest engaged De Kersaint off Cape François
2/11 Tartar 28 took Mélampe 36 gun privateer

The Glorious Action off Cape François. Engraving after Francis Swaine.

28/2 The Monmouth, 64 guns, under Captain Gardiner, 470 men, took the Foudroyant, 84 guns, under the Marquis de Quesne, 880 men. This action took place during the night. The casualties of the Foudroyant were 190 killed and wounded; those of the Monmouth, 27 killed, including her Captain, and 79 wounded. "When morning dawned the Captain of the Frenchman is said to have burst into tears on seeing to what a small ship he had struck his colours." Notes & Queries, May 12, 1855.

The Monmouth takes the Foudroyant, by Francis Swaine. NMM

This is one of the most heroic single ship actions in British naval history, and can be regarded as a direct consequence of the execution of Admiral John Byng. Captain Gardiner had perhaps an especially compelling reason for his do-and-die endeavour. There is reasonably full account of this battle in Sea Fights and Adventures, by J.Knox Laughton, 1907.

Gardiner's death and the spectacular defeat of the Foudroyant struck deeply into the heart of the English people of the time, and Swaine's painting was repeatedly engraved. Below is one of the print versions. Only the left hand half is shown of what is actually an engraving after Paton's depiction of the same engagement. Its manner derives however entirely from Monamy, and, apart from the fact that it depicts a battle at sea, there is not a vestige of van de Velde in it. Because the NMM website is displaying an almost pathological desire to stress the overriding dominance of the van de Veldes in every manifestation of English marine painting, this point will have to be thoroughly addressed on another page.

A Representation of the Engagement between his Majesty's ship the Monmouth Capt. Gardiner,
& the Foudroyant a French Man of War, on ye 28th of Febry 1758

Engraved for Gent. Mag.       B.Cole sculp.

28/2 Revenge (4?) and Berwick 64 took Orphée 64

5/3. From the Critical Review: "Mr Scot … is the only ship-painter of any note or eminence now living; and in the opinion of the judicious, no way inferior to the celebrated names of Vanderveld and Monamy. We heartily wish, that some of our admirals would, if it was only for the sake of encouraging the liberal arts, give this gentleman an opportunity of showing his skill in the representation of, what we have almost forgot, a victory at sea."

The opportunity had already been provided by the capture of the Foudroyant, and it was seized not by Scott, but by Francis Swaine, who was damned if he rated himself second to Scott. The author of the apparent puff for Scott, whiich also seems to contain a veiled reference to Byng's failure against La Gallisoniere off Minorca, would have been unaware of Captain Gardiner's sacrificial exploit at the time of its insertion. Its timing, only five days after the action, was ironically serendipitous. (The word was coined by Horace Walpole.) Scott soon afterwards retired to Twickenham and then to Ludlow, and the "judicious" connoisseurs of ship-painting were left at a loss. Swaine, who must have thrown everything he had into this work, produced a painting infinitely superior to any battle-scene ever painted by Scott.
The editor of the Critical Review at this date was Tobias Smollett. The acid tone of the advertisement for Scott, one year after the execution of John Byng, suggests Smollett's authorship, but the remoter reasons for its insertion, and its ultimate origin, can at present only be speculated upon.

5/4 Hawke at the Isle of Aix
13/4 Flagship Prince George 90 burnt in the Bay of Biscay
29/4 Pocock's action with d'Aché off Cuddalore
29/5 Dorsetshire 70 and Achilles 60 took Raisonnable 64
26/6 Louisbourg, Cape Breton, surrendered to Boscawen
3/8 Pocock's action with d'Aché off Negapatam
15/8 Howe destroyed the harbour and defences of Cherbourg
27/9 The disaster at St Cas
31/10 Antelope 50 took Belliqueue 64 off Ilfracombe
3/11 Buckingham 70 engaged Florissant 74
22/8. Horace Walpole buys George Vertue's notebooks from his widow.

The Brave Captn Tyrrel in the Buckingham of 66 Guns, 472 Men, Defeating the Florissant, 74 Guns, 700 Men,
Aigrette 34 Guns, 350 Men, Malante 28 Guns, 250 Men, three French Ships of War; on the 3 of Novr 1758,
that were Conveying Dutch Ships with Provisions to Martinico.

Hand-coloured engraving, 1786, by Goldar after a painting by Swaine. One wonders whether the numbers of men and guns are entirely correct, as reported.

21/2 Vestal 32 took Bellone 32
4/4 Achilles 50 took Comte de St Florentine 60 gun privateer
1/5 Capture of Guadeloupe
18/5 Thames 32 and Venus 36 took Arethuse 36
June - September: Expedition to and capture of Quebec. Vice-Admiral Philip Durell headed the advance squadron, followed by Sir Charles Saunders. Death of General Wolfe, 13th Sep..
13/8 Crescent 26 took Berkeley 20
18/8 Boscawen defeated de la Clue off Lagos

The Defeat of a French Squardron (sic) Commanded by Monsr de la Clue,
off Cape Lagos on the 18 of August 1759 by a Squadron of HIS MAJESTY'S SHIPS under the Command of the
Right Honbl EDWARD BOSCAWEN, Admiral of the Blue.
Swaine pinx                         Publish'd as the Act directs July 1, 1786.                         Goldar Sculp

2/9 Pocock's action with d'Aché off Pondicherry
20/11 Hawke defeated de Conflans in Quiberon Bay

The Battle of Quiberon Bay 1759; by Francis Swaine, 27 x 56
De Conflans' flagship Soleil Royale is aground, on fire, the second ship from the left.
In the centre right foreground is Sir Edward Hawke's flagship Royal George.
see also print after Swaine

In British naval history 1759 is known as the Year of Victories. "The echoes of the bells that rang for victory in 1759 have only recently died away ..... victory was achieved ...because of .. William Pitt .. and the exercise of British sea-power". Ludovic Kennedy, Introduction to The Seven Years War, 1973, by Rupert Furneaux. It is arguable that these victories were also achieved by reason of the considerable encouragement referred to by Voltaire.

Christmas 1759. David Garrick writes Heart of Oak, with music by Dr William Boyce. In 1768 the Americans John Dickinson and Arthur Lee re-wrote some of the words, adding the second stanza given below. American libertarians at this date were still loyal to Britannia's glory and wealth, however.

Come cheer up, my lads,
'Tis to glory we steer,
To add something more
To this wonderful year,
To honour we call you,
Not press you like slaves,
For who are so free
As the sons of the waves?

Heart of oak are our ships,
Jolly tars are our men,
We always are ready,
Steady, boys, steady,
We'll fight and we'll conquer
Again and again.
Our worthy forefathers,
Let's give them a cheer,
To climates unknown,
Did courageously steer.
Through oceans and deserts,
For freedom they came,
And dying, bequeathed us
Their freedom and fame.

Garrick's lines owe more than something to John Gay's Polly, Act II, Scene ii, 1729:

Culverin.Cheer up my lads, let us push on the fray,
For battles, like women, are lost by delay.
Let us seize victory while in our power;
Alike war and love have their critical hour.
Our hearts bold and steady should always be ready,
So, think war a widow, a kingdom the dower.


David Garrick as Richard III by William Hogarth 1745

"As a painter he [Hogarth] had but slender merit". H.Walpole

It is sad to reflect that 1759 was the year Brooking died, at the age of 36. His place was not wholly filled by any later marine painter. Had Vertue lived a little longer, perhaps he would have noticed him. Walpole had no doubt heard of both him and Swaine, but was so infatuated with Scott that mention of any real marine painter was out of the question. Brooking's talents completely eclipsed Scott, and, in any case, by now Swaine was also capable of far better work than Scott in the genuine marine genre.

Death of George II. Accession of George III.
Scott retires to Twickenham, and virtually abandons marine painting. Walpole starts work on his Anecdotes of Painting. See here.

The Committee of the Incorporated Society of Artists, Francis Hayman in the chair, votes a total of 20 guineas to Mrs Hannah Monamy, from the proceeds of their first exhibition at Spring Gardens, Vauxhall. The fact that Brooking's widow was also donated a sum of money suggests that works by both painters were on view in the exhibition.
"On the 8th July 1761 King George III announced his intention of marrying Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg Strelitz ..... The yacht Royal Caroline was refitted and redecorated, and her name changed to Royal Charlotte in honour of the future Queen ..... Anson sailed from Harwich on 8th August, and on 24th August the Princess embarked for England arriving back at Harwich on the 6th September."

The Royal Charlotte bound for Harwich. 18 x 23¾. Sale 26/6/1981, lot 80.
Signed Swaine, dated 1763. Described as a property of the Anson family.
This stormy scene, painted for the Anson family, went to Swaine, not Scott.
Swaine's canvas is exclusively modelled on Monamy's much earlier composition.
There is little evidence that Swaine took any notice at all of van de Velde.

1762 -1763
After 9 years, the end of the Seven Years War is ratified at Paris, on 10th February 1762, following signature of preliminaries at Fontainebleau on 3rd November 1761.

1764 1765 1766

Letter from Peter Monamy Cornwall (aged 20), Marsham Street, Westminster, November 1st, 1767, to "His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, at Claremont, near Esher, Surrey," seeking patronage. The letter ends: "I imagine you will not judge amiss of me, if with the hopes of your becoming a future Maecenas to me, I conclude with the Lines which I heard you repeat with so much cheerfulness and Satisfaction in our Senate House,

Dum memor ipse mei; dum Spiritus hos regit artus
Semper Honos, Nomenque Tuum, Laudesque manebunt

To This, my Lord, permit me to subscribe myself your most Dutiful and Obedient Servant, Peter Monamy Cornwall".       P.M.Cornwall was Francis Swaine's nephew.

Review of the Fleet, Spithead, 1767, by Francis Swaine

Death of the Duke of Newcastle.

10/11/1769: Letter from Peter Monamy Cornwall, Marsham Street, Westm[inste]r [London], to William H. Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, Charles Street, Berkeley Square, London. Apologises for his 'abrupt behaviour', but informs the Duke that he is on the brink of 'losing' his degree at Cambridge, and with it the chance of a fellowship at Trinity College, due to his inability to pay his tutor; refers to the Duke's 'notice towards those who labour under misfortunes'; asks for his assistance, stating college masters who will vouch for his character. Click here for correspondence of Duke of Portland. [ref: Pw F 3096; see also letter ref: PwF 3097].

1770 1771

Peter Monamy Cornwall appointed Curate at Fonthill Gifford. Alderman Beckford had died in 1770. His son, William, was then aged 12.

1773 1774 1775 1776 1777 1778 1779 1780 1781 1782 1783 1784 1785 1786 1787 1788 1789


1791 1792


H.M.S.Victory at sea, 1793; attributed to Monamy Swaine. National Maritime Museum.

13/10/1794: Letter from Peter Monamy Cornwall, Wotton-under-Edge [Gloucestershire], to William H. Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, Privy Gardens, London. States that he is 'an old Westminster, poorly benefic'd, who wants to place out a numerous offspring in reputable situations'; asks if the duke will subscribe to two volumes of his sermons, citing various other nobles who have already done so. The Rev P.M.Cornwall was now aged 47, and had fathered eight children. There were another three to come, and the strain was telling. He was not, however, a man to give up the ghost easily. Here.

19/3/1796: First public auction of a collection of marine paintings, lately belonging to John Stuart, Earl of Bute, 1713-1792, Tory Prime Minister, 1762-63.

timeline 1: 1652-1698       timeline 2: 1697-1750       timeline 3: 1749-1755
introduction       background
article 1981       article 1983
phlegmatic performances
monamy print-based index

© Charles Harrison Wallace 2002, 2004, 2007, 2015
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