WILLIAM EDWARD ATKINS
1842 – 1910
HMS Victory, oil painting on tin
Size: 25 x 19¾ inches / 63.5 x 50.2 cm
Stock number: 820316/0818
Original oil painted on tin – HMS Victory – a 1st rate three gun deck Ship of the Line at anchor in Portsmouth Harbour, one of her boats in davits and a gangway on her starboard side, a fishing boat under her stern with sail up “PH” for Portsmouth Harbour and a modern steel Battleship, HMS Dreadnought which entered service in 1906, to the right alongside the Semaphore Tower.
HMS Victory is depicted as she was c.1900 with her top deck cased over and her original bow sprit and manger having been removed .With the defeat of Napoleon the glorious career of HMS Victory was over in 1815. For nearly a century she lay peacefully in Portsmouth Harbour flying the flags of famous Admirals and became a silent witness to the complete transformation of the Royal Navy from wooden ships to steel. In early 1921 she was surveyed and found to be in a precarious state and to save her for the Nation on 12th January 1922 she was towed to her final resting place in No 2 Dry Dock in Portsmouth Dockyard, now her permanent home and she is the Flag Ship of the Home Fleet today.
Eventually she was restored to her “cleared for action” state as she is seen today, especially her bow sprit and figurehead replaced as she was at Tralfalgar .
A very unusual painting for Atkins being an oil – not his usual medium and on tin – very rare.
Unsigned – but definitely the work of W.E.Atkins. Perhaps as his tribute to HMS Victory and the end of the Wooden Walls and the coming of steel Warships.