Item #6156 The Capture of the Gipsey Schooner of New York on the 30th of April, 1812, by H.M. Ships Hermese and Belle Poule. William John HUGGINS, artist, Charles ROSENBERG, engraver.
CAPTURE OF THE AMERICAN PRIVATEER GIPSEY
HUGGINS, William John, artist; ROSENBERG, Charles, engraver.
London, 1820s.

The Capture of the Gipsey Schooner of New York on the 30th of April, 1812, by H.M. Ships Hermese and Belle Poule.

Aquatint [33.6 x 49.1 cm, trimmed at platemark]. Caption below image: “Painted by W.J. Huggins, Marine Painter to His Majesty for Charles Augustus Manning, Esqre. Portland Castle, Dorsetshire, from a Design by Captn. Philip Browne, R.N. Commander of H.M.S. Hermese. Engraved by C. Rosenberg.” Loss of upper right corner not affecting image, some spotting; trimmed at platemark. General toning, otherwise good.

First state, with the British sloop-of-war Hermes spelled “Hermese” (corrected in second state), and very rare, especially in first state: no sales listed in Rare Book Hub since Maggs in 1928 (second state). The print depicts the American privateer Gipsey in mid-ocean and flying the American flag, with the British ships in the background on either side, one of them firing its cannons.

During the Napoleonic Wars, HMS Belle Poule and HMS Hermes participated in numerous naval operations, including convoy duties, blockade enforcement, and skirmishes against French and American vessels. On April 30, 1812, the two British ships captured the American privateer schooner Gipsey (or Gipsy) in the middle of the Atlantic after a three-day chase. The Gipsey, “a most superb Vessel” according to the detailed caption text, was transporting a valuable cargo of goods from New York to Bordeaux in France, with which Britain was at war. Despite attempts by the Gipsey to evade capture, the Hermes and Belle Poule succeeded in intercepting and seizing the American vessel. The capture of the Gipsey underscored the strategic importance of naval power and blockade operations before and during the War of 1812—the United States declared war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812—as both sides sought to control maritime trade routes and disrupt enemy commerce.

William John Huggins (1781-1845) was a British painter renowned for his maritime artistry. He began his career as an apprentice to the marine painter, Ozias Humphry. Huggins quickly gained recognition for his precise depictions of ships and seascapes, especially for the East India Company. His works, which were exhibited at the Royal Academy and the British Institution, often showcased naval battles, merchant vessels, and maritime landscapes with meticulous attention to detail. Huggins was appointed Marine Painter to King George IV in 1822, solidifying his reputation as one of the leading marine artists of his time.

Little is know about the engraver, C. Rosenberg, identified as Charles Rosenberg and active in England from the 1790s to the 1820s. He appears to have specialized in maritime prints.

* Maggs Catalog 498 ( 1927) #60, priced at 42 English Pounds; Benezit, vol. 5, p. 657 (Huggins) & vol. 9, p. 91 (Rosenberg).

Price: $3,350.00

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