The People of Gibraltar
1853 - Clarkson Frederick Stanfield - With Minor Alterations

Clarkson Frederick Stanfield was born in 1793 and became a prominent marine artist. Admirably he was so named after the slave trade abolitionist, Thomas Clarkson.

Clarkson Frederick Stanfield ( 1845 - David Roberts ) ( see LINK )

His picture of the Battle of Trafalgar is perhaps his best known work.

Sketch for 'The Battle of Trafalgar

The Battle of Trafalgar  ( 1850s )

Taking the rather narrow perspective of looking at his work through the eyes of somebody interested only in works of art depicting his home town, Stanfield is hardly worth a mention. As far as I can see he only painted three pictures in which the Rock forms part of the background noise and even one of these is almost certainly mislabelled as the Rock in question does not look at all like Gibraltar.

However, his painting of HMS The Victory Bearing the Body of Nelson Towed into Gibraltar after the Battle of Trafalgar which was made to order for Sir Samuel Morton Peto at Somerleyton Hall makes up for this. Unfortunately the picture apparently now belongs to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and is not on display. I use the word "apparently" because I am not entirely sure that this is the original - it is unfinished.

The Original - HMS The Victory Bearing the Body of Nelson Towed into Gibraltar after the Battle of Trafalgar  - It seems unfinished      ( 1853 )

There are, however, copies in other museums and in private ownership. All are slightly different to each other but all are attributed to Stanfield. Is it possible that so many copies should all have been painted by the same artist? 

Victoria and Albert Museum

Guildhall Art Gallery London

Unknown owner

Government Art Collection

Another less well known and quite different version, this one possibly by Stanfield himself, depicting more or less the same scene ( 1850s )

Labelled Gibraltar - almost certainly incorrectly - but also by Stanfield

19th century "copy" sold by Bonhams

In the board room of Portsmouth Football Club  ( Henry J. Morgan )

Charles Henry Miller (Unknown date )

Curiously during the renovations carried out in the Convent in 1997, Stanfield's famous 'Victory' picture was specifically chosen to be hung over the fireplace of the drawing room.  I would imagine that it is this particular picture that was chosen for the Gibraltar stamp issued to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the death of Nelson. It is very similar to the one sold by Bonhams shown above. Whatever the case, it would seem to be yet another version.

Gibraltar stamp

A 20th century variation on the theme ( Francis Smitheman ) 

And finally a somewhat incomprehensible version in which the Victory seems to have metamorphosed into a french man-of-war with the ship which was once the tower now flying an American flag.

( Mid 19th century - John  Wilson )