Thomas Buttersworth

Thomas Buttersworth (5 May 1768 – November 1842) was an English seaman of the Napoleonic wars period who became a marine painter. He produced works to commission, and was little exhibited during his lifetime.

0 around edinburgh - firth of forth - royal george buttersworth
The Royal George at Leith for the Visit of King George IV to Scotland.


Butterworth was born on the Isle of Wight. He enlisted in the Royal Navy in London in 1795, and served on HMS Caroline during the wars with France, before being invalided home from Menorca in 1800.

The National Maritime Museum in London has 27 watercolours by him, several of which are mounted on sheets from 18th century printed signal and muster books. He went on to paint numerous naval battle scenes and pictures such as the ‘'Inshore Squadron off Cadiz in 1797'’ which are thought to show scenes he witnessed. On being appointed Marine Painter to the East India Company he painted ship portraits on commission. It had been thought that he died in 1830, but recent research has found that he painted Queen Victoria’s visit to Edinburgh in 1842 before he died in London later that year.[1]

His son James Edward Buttersworth (1817–1894) also became a maritime painter.[2]



British armed top sail schooner off Malaga, Spain, in the collection at The Mariners' Museum

British brig attacking a French lugger

British brig attacking a French lugger in the collection at The Mariners' Museum

The London off the Seven Sisters

the London off the Seven Sisters (1820) in the collection at The Mariners' Museum

Battle between United States & Macedonian

battle between United States & Macedonian (ca. 1820) in the collection at The Mariners' Museum


  1. ^ National Maritime Museum, "Thomas Buttersworth"
  2. ^ Robert McKenna, The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy McGraw Hill 2003 page 48 ISBN 0-07-141950-0

External links

Battle of Trafalgar

The Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805) was a naval engagement fought by the British Royal Navy against the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies, during the War of the Third Coalition (August–December 1805) of the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815).Twenty-seven British ships of the line led by Admiral Lord Nelson aboard HMS Victory defeated thirty-three French and Spanish ships of the line under French Admiral Villeneuve. The battle took place in the Atlantic Ocean off the southwest coast of Spain, just west of Cape Trafalgar, near the town of Los Caños de Meca. The Franco-Spanish fleet lost twenty-two ships and the British lost none.

The victory confirmed the naval supremacy Britain had established during the course of the eighteenth century and it was achieved in part through Nelson's departure from the prevailing naval tactical orthodoxy of the day. Conventional practice at the time was for opposing fleets to engage each other in single parallel lines, in order to facilitate signalling and disengagement, and to maximise fields of fire and target areas. Nelson instead arranged his ships into two columns to sail perpendicularly into the enemy fleet's line.

During the battle, Nelson was shot by a French musketeer and he died shortly before the battle ended. Villeneuve was captured, along with his ship Bucentaure. He later attended Nelson's funeral while a captive on parole in Britain. Admiral Federico Gravina, the senior Spanish flag officer, escaped with the remnant of the fleet. He died five months later from wounds sustained during the battle.

Capture of USS President

The capture of USS President was one of many naval actions fought at the end of the War of 1812. The frigate USS President tried to break out of New York Harbor but was intercepted by a British squadron of four warships and forced to surrender. The battle took place several weeks after the Treaty of Ghent, but there is no evidence that the combatants were aware that the war had officially ended.

HMS Argo (1781)

HMS Argo was a 44-gun fifth-rate Roebuck-class ship of the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1781 from Howdon Dock. The French captured her in 1783, but 36 hours later the British recaptured her. She then distinguished herself in the French Revolutionary Wars by capturing several prizes, though she did not participate in any major actions. She also served in the Napoleonic Wars. She was sold in 1816.

HMS Belle Poule (1806)

HMS Belle Poule was a Royal Navy fifth rate frigate, formerly Belle Poule, a Virginie-class frigate of the French Navy, which was built by the Crucy family's shipyard at Basse-Indre to a design by Jacques-Noël Sané. She was launched on 17 April 1802, and saw active service in the East, but in 1806 a British squadron under Sir John Borlase Warren captured her off La Palma in the Canary Islands. The Admiralty commissioned her into the Royal Navy as HMS Belle Poule. She was sold in 1816.

HMS Bellerophon (1786)

HMS Bellerophon was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. Launched in 1786, she served during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, mostly on blockades or convoy escort duties. Known to sailors as the "Billy Ruffian", she fought in three fleet actions, the Glorious First of June, the Battle of the Nile and the Battle of Trafalgar, and was the ship aboard which Napoleon finally surrendered, ending 22 years of nearly continuous war with France.

Built at Frindsbury, near Rochester in Kent, Bellerophon was initially laid up in ordinary, briefly being commissioned during the Spanish and Russian Armaments. She entered service with the Channel Fleet on the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars, and took part in the Glorious First of June in 1794, the first of several fleet actions of the wars. Bellerophon narrowly escaped being captured by the French in 1795, when her squadron was nearly overrun by a powerful French fleet, but the bold actions of the squadron's commander, Vice-Admiral Sir William Cornwallis, caused the French to retreat. She played a minor role in efforts to intercept a French invasion force bound for Ireland in 1797, and then joined the Mediterranean Fleet under Sir John Jervis. Detached to reinforce Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson's fleet in 1798, she took part in the decisive defeat of a French fleet at the Battle of the Nile. She then returned to England and went out to the West Indies, where she spent the Peace of Amiens on cruises and convoy escort duty between the Caribbean and North America.

Bellerophon returned to European waters with the resumption of the wars with France, joining a fleet under Vice-Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood blockading Cadiz. The reinforced fleet, by then commanded by Horatio Nelson, engaged the combined Franco-Spanish fleet when it emerged from port. At the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October Bellerophon fought a bitter engagement against Spanish and French ships, sustaining heavy casualties including the death of her captain, John Cooke. After repairs Bellerophon was employed blockading the enemy fleets in the Channel and the North Sea. She plied the waters of the Baltic Sea in 1809, making attacks on Russian shipping, and by 1810 was off the French coast again, blockading their ports. She went out to North America as a convoy escort between 1813 and 1814, and in 1815 was assigned to blockade the French Atlantic port of Rochefort. In July 1815, defeated at Waterloo and finding escape to America barred by the blockading Bellerophon, Napoleon came aboard "the ship that had dogged his steps for twenty years" (according to maritime historian David Cordingly) to finally surrender to the British. It was Bellerophon's last seagoing service. She was paid off and converted to a prison ship in 1815, and was renamed Captivity in 1824 to free the name for another ship. Moved to Plymouth in 1826, she continued in service until 1834, when the last convicts left. The Admiralty ordered her to be sold in 1836, and she was broken up.

Bellerophon's long and distinguished career has been recorded in literature and folk songs, commemorating the achievements of the "Billy Ruffian".

HMS Blenheim (1761)

HMS Blenheim was a 90-gun second rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 5 July 1761 at Woolwich. In 1797 she participated in the Battle of Cape St Vincent. In 1801 Blenheim was razeed to a Third Rate. She disappeared off Madagascar with all hands in February 1807.

HMS Entreprenante (1799)

HMS Entreprenante (also Entreprenant), was a 10-gun cutter that the Royal Navy captured from the French in 1798. The British commissioned her in 1799 and she served during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, participating in the Battle of Trafalgar. She has been the only ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name. She took part in several small engagements, capturing Spanish and French ships before she was sold in 1812 for breaking up.

HMS Hermes (1811)

HMS Hermes was a 20-gun Hermes-class sixth-rate flush decked sloop-of-war built in Milford Dockyard to the lines of the ex-French Bonne Citoyenne. She was destroyed in 1814 to prevent her falling into American hands after grounding during her unsuccessful attack on Fort Bowyer on Mobile Point outside Mobile, Alabama.

HMS Neptune (1797)

HMS Neptune was a 98-gun second rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. She served on a number of stations during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and was present at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Neptune was built during the early years of the war with Revolutionary France and was launched in 1797. She almost immediately became caught up in the events of the mutiny at the Nore, and was one of a few loyal ships tasked with attacking mutinous vessels if they could not be brought to order. The mutiny died out before this became necessary and Neptune joined the Channel Fleet. She moved to the Mediterranean in 1799, spending the rest of the French Revolutionary Wars in operations with Vice-Admiral Lord Keith's fleet. After refitting, and spending time on blockades, she formed part of Lord Nelson's fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar, and was heavily involved in the fighting, sustaining casualties of 10 killed and 34 wounded.

She was not fully repaired and returned to service until 1807, when she went out to the Caribbean. In 1809 she participated in the successful invasion of Martinique, and the subsequent battle with Troude's squadron. Returning to Britain towards the end of the wars, she was laid up in ordinary, and in 1813 became a temporary prison ship. She was finally broken up in 1818.

HMS Temeraire (1798)

HMS Temeraire was a 98-gun second-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. Launched in 1798, she served during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, mostly on blockades or convoy escort duties. She fought only one fleet action, the Battle of Trafalgar, but became so well known for her actions and her subsequent depictions in art and literature that she has been remembered as The Fighting Temeraire.

Built at Chatham Dockyard, Temeraire entered service on the Brest blockade with the Channel Fleet. Missions were tedious and seldom relieved by any action with the French fleet. The first incident of note came when several of her crew, hearing rumours they were to be sent to the West Indies at a time when peace with France seemed imminent, refused to obey orders. This act of mutiny eventually failed and a number of those responsible were tried and executed. Laid up during the Peace of Amiens, Temeraire returned to active service with the resumption of the wars with France, again serving with the Channel Fleet, and joined Horatio Nelson's blockade of the Franco-Spanish fleet in Cadiz in 1805. At the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October, the ship went into action immediately astern of Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory. During the battle Temeraire came to the rescue of the beleaguered Victory, and fought and captured two French ships, winning public renown in Britain.

After undergoing substantial repairs, Temeraire was employed blockading the French fleets and supporting British operations off the Spanish coasts. She went out to the Baltic in 1809, defending convoys against Danish gunboat attacks, and by 1810 was off the Spanish coast again, helping to defend Cadiz against a French army. Her last action was against the French off Toulon, when she came under fire from shore batteries. The ship returned to Britain in 1813 for repairs, but was laid up. She was converted to a prison ship and moored in the River Tamar until 1819. Further service brought her to Sheerness as a receiving ship, then a victualling depot, and finally a guard ship. The Admiralty ordered her to be sold in 1838, and she was towed up the Thames to be broken up.

This final voyage was depicted in a J. M. W. Turner oil painting greeted with critical acclaim, entitled The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Berth to be broken up, 1838. The painting continues to be held in high regard and was voted Britain's favourite painting in 2005.

HMS Ville de Paris

HMS Ville de Paris was a 110-gun first rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 17 July 1795 at Chatham Dockyard. She was designed by Sir John Henslow, and was the only ship built to her draught. She was named after the French ship of the line Ville de Paris, flagship of François Joseph Paul de Grasse during the American Revolutionary War. That ship had been captured by the Royal Navy at the Battle of the Saintes in April 1782, but on the voyage to England, as a prize, she sank in a hurricane in September 1782.

She served as the flagship of John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent, with the Channel Fleet.

On 17 August 1803, the boats of Ville de Paris captured the French privateer Messager from among the rocks off Ushant. Lloyd's Patriotic Fund awarded Lieutenant Watts, of Ville de Paris, with an honour sword worth £50 for his role in the cutting out expedition. Messager was pierced for eight guns but had six mounted, and had her owner and 40 men aboard when Watts arrived with his pinnace and 18 men. The British captured her before the other boats from Ville de Paris could arrive. The French put up a minimal resistance and only suffered a few men lightly wounded; the British suffered no casualties. The action occurred in sight of the hired armed cutter Nimrod. In January 1805 head and prize money from the proceeds of the French privateer Messager was due to be paid.On 18 January 1808, following the Battle of Corunna, Ville de Paris (Captain John Surman Carden) evacuated twenty-three officers of the 50th, three of the 43rd, four of the 26th, three of the 18th, one of the 76th, two of the 52nd, two of the 36th, four Royal Engineers, and two Royal Artillery - a total of 44 officers, including General Sir David Baird, his ADC Captain Hon Alexander Gordon, Sir John Colborne and Lieutenant Henry Percy. Ville de Paris also embarked several thousand soldiers.Later, Admiral Collingwood died aboard her of cancer while on service in the Mediterranean, off Port Mahón, on 7 March 1810.

On 22 July 1814, at the conclusion of the Peninsula War, Ville de Paris arrived off Portsmouth carrying the 43rd Light Infantry Battalion along with the 2nd Rifles.Ville de Paris was placed on harbour service in 1824, and she was broken up in 1845.

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight (; also referred to informally as The Island or abbreviated to IoW) is a county and the largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel, between 2 and 5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated by the Solent. The island has resorts that have been holiday destinations since Victorian times, and is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland and chines. The island is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The island has been home to the poets Swinburne and Tennyson and to Queen Victoria, who built her much-loved summer residence and final home Osborne House at East Cowes. It has a maritime and industrial tradition including boat-building, sail-making, the manufacture of flying boats, the hovercraft, and Britain's space rockets. The island hosts annual music festivals including the Isle of Wight Festival, which in 1970 was the largest rock music event ever held. It has well-conserved wildlife and some of the richest cliffs and quarries for dinosaur fossils in Europe.

The isle was owned by a Norman family until 1293 and was earlier a kingdom in its own right. In common with the Crown dependencies, the British Crown was then represented on the island by the Governor of the Isle of Wight until 1995. The island has played an important part in the defence of the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, and been near the front-line of conflicts through the ages, including the Spanish Armada and the Battle of Britain. Rural for most of its history, its Victorian fashionability and the growing affordability of holidays led to significant urban development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Historically part of Hampshire, the island became a separate administrative county in 1890. It continued to share the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire until 1974, when it was made its own ceremonial county. Apart from a shared police force, there is now no administrative link with Hampshire, although a combined local authority with Portsmouth and Southampton was considered, this is now unlikely to proceed.The quickest public transport link to the mainland is the hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea; three vehicle ferry and two catamaran services cross the Solent to Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth.

James E. Buttersworth

James Edward Buttersworth (1817–1894) was an English painter who specialized in maritime art and is considered among the foremost American ship portraitists of the nineteenth century. His paintings are particularly known for their meticulous detail, dramatic settings, and grace in movement.

Kent (1820 EIC ship)

The Kent was an East Indiaman, a vessel sailing for the British East India Company, and launched in 1820. She completed two voyages to Bombay and China for the Company and was on her third voyage, to Bengal and China, when a fire in the Bay of Biscay destroyed her. Her captain for all three voyages was Henry Cobb.

Marine art

Marine art or maritime art is any form of figurative art (that is, painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture) that portrays or draws its main inspiration from the sea. Maritime painting is a genre that depicts ships and the sea—a genre particularly strong from the 17th to 19th centuries. In practice the term often covers art showing shipping on rivers and estuaries, beach scenes and all art showing boats, without any rigid distinction - for practical reasons subjects that can be drawn or painted from dry land in fact feature strongly in the genre. Strictly speaking "maritime art" should always include some element of human seafaring, whereas "marine art" would also include pure seascapes with no human element, though this distinction may not be observed in practice.

Ships and boats have been included in art from almost the earliest times, but marine art only began to become a distinct genre, with specialized artists, towards the end of the Middle Ages, mostly in the form of the "ship portrait" a type of work that is still popular and concentrates on depicting a single vessel. As landscape art emerged during the Renaissance, what might be called the marine landscape became a more important element in works, but pure seascapes were rare until later.

Maritime art, especially marine painting - as a particular genre separate from landscape – really began with Dutch Golden Age painting in the 17th century. Marine painting was a major genre within Dutch Golden Age painting, reflecting the importance of overseas trade and naval power to the Dutch Republic, and saw the first career marine artists, who painted little else. In this, as in much else, specialist and traditional marine painting has largely continued Dutch conventions to the present day. With Romantic art, the sea and the coast was reclaimed from the specialists by many landscape painters, and works including no vessels became common for the first time.


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