Horatio Nelson attacking a Spanish ship before bombarding Cadiz, 1797. Engraving by A. Smith, 1809, after R. Westall.

  • Westall, Richard, 1765-1836.
May 1809
  • Pictures

About this work


"On the night of 3-4 July an attempt was made to bombard Cadiz from a bomb-vessel, protected by ship's boats. A few days before, some British boats had shown marked reluctance to come to close quarters with the Spanish gunboats. When they counter-attacked this time, Nelson in person led the British boats in his barge. There was desperate hand-to-hand fighting, in which Nelson's life was saved by his coxswain John Sykes, who put out his own arm to receive a cutlass blow aimed at Nelson's head. Nelson mentioned Sykes in his dispatch (an almost unheard-of honour for a rating) and got him promoted. Once again Nelson had shown extraordinary personal courage and risked his life in circumstances where no flag officer would normally be found"--Oxford dictionary of national biography. John Sykes is assumed to be the same as John Sykes 1770 or 1771-1858


London (Strand) : Cadell & Davies, May 1809.

Physical description

1 print : engraving, with etching ; image and border 21.5 x 18 cm


Rear Admiral Nelson's conflict in his barge with a Spanish launch, night of July 3. 1797 ; Painted by R. Westall R.A. ; Engraved by A. Smith A.R.A.


Wellcome Collection 646157i


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