DODD, Robert (1748-1815)
This View of his Majesty's Ship Shannon, hove to, and cooly waiting the close Approach of the American Frigate Chesapeake, who is bearing down to the Attack, with all the confidence of victory ...
[London]: R. Dodd, August 1813. Hand coloured aquatint. Sheet size: 16 1/2 x 22 1/8 inches.
One of the rarest aquatint views of the War of 1812 engagement between the Shannon and the Chesapeake.
Robert Dodd was a British painter based out of London who specialized in marine paintings. Much of his work includes scenes of the River Thames, naval dockyards, and battles of the French Revolutionary Wars and American Revolution. He also engraved over 100 of his own aquatints in addition to painting them. He exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy from 1782 to 1809. British maritime painting developed significantly at this time, partly because of the numerous wars Britain was involved in throughout the 18th century. These paintings were often created for the officers of ships or specifically to exhibit at the Royal Academy. The particular engagement this print depicts, the famous battle between USS Chesapeake and HMS Shannon off the coast of Boston on June 1, 1813, was a quick and bloody battle in which both captains were injured. It took only 15 minutes for the USS Chesapeake to be captured though over 120 lives were lost in that short period of time. Americans viewed this loss as humiliating and giving even more reason to oppose involvement in the war. Despite this unfavorable view of the battle and the war in general, the US Captain Lawrence's dying words of "Don't give up the ship!" turned into a popular and well-known naval battle cry still in use to this day.