Royal Navy Warships - Sail 1765-1838

The French Napoleonic and Revolutionary Wars were the background to the vessels embraced in this series of ships of sail. The Royal Navy by 1812 had 145,000 seamen out of a national population of about eleven million. Ships were rated according to guns: Three-deckers, 100 guns or more, First Rates; 80-98 guns, Second Rates; 64-78 guns, Third Rates; 50-60, Fourth Rates; 38-40, Fifth Rates and 20-28 as Sixth Rates.The Navy achieved maritime supremacy over the French and removed the threat of invasion as the Grande Armée were confined to the continental land mass. This supremacy was achieved through better leadership and seamanship. Although French and Spanish ships were better built and designed than those built here, le Terreur in France, between 1793-94, decimated the upper ranks of the French Navy with disastrous consequences. Britain, with Nelson, Collingwood, Jervis, Cornwallis, Hood, and Duncan possessed a backbone of officers of the highest quality. In 1852 the second HMS Agamemnon was the first battleship designed for steam. This sounded the death-knell for sail despite the great reluctance of the Admiralty to recognise this.

The prints measure 44.5 cm wide x 34.5 cm high (17″ x 14″). Minor variation in size is possible based on the actual guillotine cut made by the printer over 50 years ago. Shown here are photographs which have been carefully corrected to remove most distortion. Published in 1968 by © Hugh Evelyn Limited, London; drawn by John Gardner.

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