Captain, Undress Uniform, 1795-1812


Captain, UNDRESS UNIFORM, 1795-1812: drawn from a painting of Sir Sidney Smith by J. Eckstein and a water colour of a senior captain by Antonad at the Royal Museums, Greenwich.

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Nelson was not the only eccentric: Captain Sir Sidney Smith is the subject of this plate. His distinguished early career was marred by a conceited manner. In 1790 he was present at the defeat of a Russian fleet in the Gulf of Viborg, was knighted by Gustavus, and awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the Sword. He escaped from Paris, where he was held prisoner-of-war at the height of the Terror. Nelson disparagingly called him the ‘Swedish Knight’ when he served under Nelson in the Mediterranean; In 1799 he held the town of Acre against a French army commanded by Bonaparte himself, for two months, with only a handful of undisciplined Turks, and the seamen and marines from his two ships, Le Tigre and TheseusSir Sidney could claim to be the first Englishman to defeat Napoleon on land.

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Dimensions 17.5 × 25.5 cm


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