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Image
PY7437
Object
PAH7437
Artist
John Fairburn
Date
1803
Medium
coloured etching
Size
259 mm x 403 mm
Preview

PY7437

'A Correct View of the French Flat-Bottom Boats...'

This print, published only a few months after the resumption of war between Britain and France, and in response to a very serious invasion fear in Britain, recapitulates similar images produced during the invasion scare of 1798 (for examples, see PAH7426 and PAH7433). Unlike the earlier prints, however, with their monstrous and bizarre 'rafts' for transporting huge numbers of troops, this shows much more feasible vessels and appears to be based on much better founded information. The caption claims that they could carry 500 men each. Showing the boats in both bow view and port profile, the print follows the visual conventions for documentary accuracy. However, the decorative treatment of the waves and the use of colour also give it the feel of a satirical print. If the caption is reliable in claiming that the boats were seen in August 1803, its publication on 17 August demonstrates a remarkably rapid response in broadcasting this information.

© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London