British 18th C, except portraits, Maritime Subjects 4 Could this scene depict the capture of the Bienfaisant and burning of the Prudent at Louisbourg in 1758?

Topic: Subject or sitter

The castellations to the harbour wall on the left are similar to those around the fort at Louisbourg. Does anybody recognise any of the buildings on the quayside?

Cliff Thornton, Entry reviewed by Art UK


Dr Pieter van der Merwe has commented: 'There are boats lying off the port bow of the burning ship so it might be a wartime event, but the only so-far known print of the incident by Canot after Paton is rather different and more convincing on the detail of the fortifications etc: no images on National Maritime Museum public pages, though we have it, but this is the British Museum's Why it should be down as Marlow I also cannot imagine: possible I suppose if there's a signature on it but not his normal sort of thing though I can't think who at the moment if not.'

Michael Liversidge,

In answer to PvM's query about the attribution, that is down to me I fear! Still sound in my view...I made it on the strength of similarities to other nocturnal conflagrations by Marlow - there are a few, but at present all my files are locked down in the university and we are unable to access the building, and I am locked down by a course of chemo-therapy treatment continuing to August. There's a burning ship in a painting by WM in Guildhall Art Gallery. I like the idea of somewhere distant - it's an early work, and among WM's pictures from early-1760s are several scenes of Cuba and places in the 7 Years' War which he never saw, but for which he relied on drawings by others for the topography.
Hope that makes some sense.....

Thanks to both. I wasn't aware of Marlow as a 'night fires' man -or indeed Paton: its not an area where one is usually making comparisons -though its not hard to think of others (e.g by Samuel Scott)- so probably worth some further thought.

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