BROOKING, Charles
(b. ca. 1723, London, d. 1759, London)

The Capture of a French Ship by Royal Family Privateers

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Oil on canvas, 58 x 84 cm
Private collection

The Royal Family Privateers owed their unusual name to the fact that each vessel was named after a member of the Royal Family. They carried out a series of dashing exploits in the 1740's, commanded by James Talbot, and several of these were painted by Brooking. This painting probably depicts the action on 10th July 1745 when the Prince Frederick and the Duke, under the command of Commodore James Talbot, captured two French vessels, the Marquese d'Antin and the Louis Erasme. The action was particularly celebrated since the French ships were found to have over one million pounds in bullion aboard. When the ships reached Bristol, the treasure was taken to London in 45 wagons, accompanied by an armed guard and preceded by a band.