The painting depicts the moment when the great Admiral Nelson’s coffin finally left his famous flagship HMS Victory.

After the Battle of Trafalgar, where Nelson was killed, the men of his flagship ignored direct orders to have his body taken to England in the frigate Euryalus. The men, grieving the loss of their beloved admiral, believed that there was a danger that the body of a mere frigate would be captured and that only their mighty ship could properly protect their hero. They demanded the right to bring their commander home safely in his own flagship.

HMS Victory was very badly damaged during the battle and had to be repaired both in Gibraltar and Portsmouth on the return journey. Therefore, it was not until just before Christmas that the Victory sailed up the river Medway, east of London. Here Victory was met by the beautiful little yacht Chatham, the official ship of the Commissioner of Sheerness Dockyard Captain the Hon. George Grey. (Grey had served as joint captain in the victory at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent).

Nelson’s extremely heavy coffin was loaded onto the deck of Chatham and transported up the Thames to Greenwich Hospital, while the enormous flag of the Vice Admiral of Victory flew at half-mast on the small yacht.

This scene is full of emotion and pride, especially for the sailors of Victory who bid farewell to their great commander, having performed their duty and seen him safely home, many of whom stand along the ship’s rigging. Maarten Platje has used the atmosphere of a misty and cold late winter afternoon to evoke this poignant atmosphere and emphasize the enormous size of the large, battle-damaged flagship Victory.


Limited, hand-signed art prints. These reproductions will be delivered to you in a shipping tube by parcel post.

Art prints

Art is the product of skill and craft. It stands for originality, inspiration, authenticity & uniqueness. As an artist, Platje values the original characteristics of his work for good reason. Reproductions of this work deserve the same respect.
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