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The Capture of the Westmorland

By: Daniel Evon

  • A portrait of Francis Basset painted in 1778

The Capture of the Westmorland... An Episode of the Grand Tour

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This image is from a collection of paintings commandeered by the French from the British during the Anglo-French War and was then sold to Spain, where it resided for many years. This portrait of Francis Basset, the first Baron de Dunstanville, was painted by Pompeo Batoni in 1778. Basset commissioned the artwork while on a Grand Tour of Rome with fellow British travelers.

  • British tourists as they decide which paintings and antiquities to purchase
  • Giovanni Paolo Pannini: Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome
  • Giovanni Paolo Pannini: Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome
  • Giovanni Paolo Pannini: Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome
  • Giovanni Paolo Pannini: Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome
  • Giovanni Paolo Pannini: Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome

Giovanni Paolo Pannini: Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome

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/images-articles/20027/box3/1-Sketches-of-Castel-Saint-Angelo-and-Saincredit-sm.jpg

While visiting Rome on the Grand Tour, British tourists sought to buy great works of art to bring home after their journey. This painting depicts British tourists as they decide which paintings and antiquities to purchase. This was painted by Giovanni Paolo Pannini in 1758. Pannini was famous for his realistic representations of monuments and public celebrations in Rome.

  • Sketches of Castel Saint Angelo and Saincredit

A letter from Joseph Wright including Sketches of Castel Saint Angelo and Saincredit

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Shortly after leaving the port of Livorno, Italy, the Westmoreland was captured by the French Navy and escorted to Malaga, Spain, where the goods were auctioned off. The majority of the paintings were sold to King Carlos III. Most of the works of art purchased by the king were subsequently given to the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid to be used as educational tools for Spanish artists.

  • Joseph Embarkation at Sunset

Joseph Embarkation at Sunset

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The Anglo-French War lasted from 1778 to 1783. Many believe the start of the war has its roots in the American Revolution, as France sided with the Americans. One of the most common modes of transport during this time was by ship, but this left tourists and their treasures vulnerable to capture by the enemy. In this painting by Claude Lorraine, entitled Embarkation at Sunset, you can see the majesty of nautical travel during this time period.

  • The Capture of the Westmoreland

The Capture of the Westmoreland

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The Capture of the Westmoreland was not one of the biggest military victories during the Anglo-French War, but it represents a cultural victory. With access to these paintings, Spanish artists gained new insight into what was popular in Rome, considered an ancient hub for art, and the artists could learn new techniques by deeply studying these paintings. During this period the sharing of culture and art become evident through imitation in taste and fashion, as well as art.

  • The English Prize: The Capture of the Westmoreland, An Episode of the Grand Tour

The English Prize: The Capture of the Westmoreland, An Episode of the Grand Tour

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To learn more about the saga of the Westmoreland and the art that was captured from her hold, consider ordering a copy of "The English Prize: The Capture of the Westmoreland, An Episode of the Grand Tour" from Amazon.

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