The TRAFALGAR Series
Three paintings of the Battle of Trafalgar by Robin Brooks
© Robin Brooks 2007
The Power and The Glory - Lord Nelson's Victory and the British Fleet 2.30pm approx., 21st October 1805 Nautical Day.Oil on canvas, 24" x 36" (61cm x 91.5cm)
Purchased by an American Collector.
Lord Nelson's Victory and the British Fleet 2.30pm approx. 21st October 1805 (Nautical Day)
Featured in Country Life, Trafalgar Day 2004.
Click here to see the British Fleet Track Diagram
Few painters can better suggest the feeling of drama and foreboding than Robin Brooks. This superb painting is all about mood and feeling. The sense of foreboding suggested not only in the subtle colouring and dramatic sky, but perhaps also helped by our own sense of hindsight. For we know, as we look at this scene, that awe-inspiring events are about to unfold and that the greatest sea battle in the age of sail is only hours away.
Lord Nelson - by Sir William Beechy
Aboard HMS Victory, Lord Nelson frets that his quarry will again elude him and anxiously awaits news of the position of the combined fleets of France and Spain.
Within a little over 24 hours, 102 of Victory's crew of 820 will be wounded and 57 will be dead, including Lord Nelson. The names of Horatio Nelson, The Battle of Trafalgar and HMS Victory will pass into immortality and inspire generations.
Thomas Atkinson, HMS Victory's Master wrote in his Log -
"Fresh breezes and squally with rain in the third reef of Top Sails. At 2pm (Nautical Day) taken aback came to the wind on the Starboard Tack."
HMS Victory is shown flying yellow over red identification pennants from her main masthead. The Conqueror 74 guns can be seen off Victory's port beam and beyond her is the Achille 74 guns. On the extreme left horizon, the artist has suggested the frigate Euryalus who at 3.20pm made the telegraph message,
"The enemy appears determined to push to the westward with numeral pendant 30 NBE which the Admiral answered."
© Robin Brooks 2007
The Battle of Trafalgar
Nautical Day: Artist's NoteI try, whenever possible, to use extant source material, such as ships' logs, as I find it helpful, when endeavouring to visualize events, to adhere to the practices of the period, i.e. nautical day. It helps me to get into the mood of what I am trying to portray, in my search for the spirit of the moment. An example of this is the use of 'nautical day' or 'ship time' as it is sometimes called. In 1805, at the Battle of Trafalgar, 'nautical day' was still in use and I have used it in the extended title of 'The Power and the Glory - Lord Nelson's Victory and the British Fleet 2.30 pm approx. 21st October 1805 (Nautical Day)'.
The dating of HMS Victory's log is in 'nautical day', by which the 24 hour day begins 12 hours before the civil day and runs from noon to noon, as opposed to midnight to midnight. HMS Victory's 'pm' therefore precedes her 'am', and the 'am' alone is identical with civil time. Thus, Monday 21st October 1805 begins at noon, on Sunday 20th October, civil time. In 'The Power and the Glory', Victory is depicted at 2.30 pm on the 21st October 1805.
Lord Nelson kept civil time in his private diary. Interestingly, the Admiralty sent orders on the 11th October 1805, that the use of 'nautical day' was to be abolished. This information seems to be have been received by the flag officer of the fleet shortly before the battle, but it was not generally implemented by the fleet for many months.
HMS Britannia's log makes note of the change of use from 'nautical' to 'civil' day.
Testimonials for Robin Brooks'
"The Power and the Glory has captivated for both personal and historical reasons - and here I am; what a memorable meeting this has been! In your studio, over coffee and cake with both you and Mary and talking about our connections with the musical Berkeley family. Thank you."Patricia and Peter Van de Kasteele, Oxford
"I intended to buy the lithograph, but when I saw the giclée, I had to have it! It's been a lovely afternoon - thank you so much"Doreen Grierson, Devon
© Robin Brooks 2007
This painting was reproduced as a full colour plate in 'The Ships of Trafalgar' by Peter Goodwin,
Keeper and Curator of HMS Victory. Published by Conway, 2005.
More Battle of Trafalgar Pages
- The Trafalgar Series: The Defining Moment Trafalgar 1805
- What's Happening in 'The Defining Moment'?
- The Power and the Glory
- Auguste Mayer's Trafalgar Painting: Article by Robin Brooks
- The Search for the Spirit: Article by Robin Brooks
- Battle of Trafalgar: British Fleet Track Diagram
- Bucentaure: Article by Robin Brooks
- Victory in Art and the Constable Sketches: Article by Robin Brooks (PDF Download)
Back to the top