It all comes down to Gibraltar
By LAURIE [Robert] & [James] WHITTLE , 1805

Ever memorable battle off Cape Trafalgar: 21 October 1805

Europe Spain & Portugal
  • Author: LAURIE [Robert] & [James] WHITTLE
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Laurie & Whittle, 53, Fleet Street
  • Publication date: 12 December 1805.
  • Physical description: Engraving with hand-colour. Originally part of a larger broadside on the Battle of Trafalgar, lacking text below describing details of the battle (British Museum number 1871,1111.620). Some loss to sheet, several small tears with two going into the image, skilfully repaired.
  • Inventory reference: 15382


The engraving shows the Spanish and French fleets lined up to block the entrance to the straits of Gibraltar, while two lines of British ships approach the enemy.

At the bottom of the map Admiral Nelson is depicted wounded on the deck of HMS Victory surrounded by his officers. Whilst the image is not entirely accurate, the visual depiction of the ships successfully exhibits the tactics employed by the British navy, paramount to their success.

Each of the British ships is named and numbered; notably, 1. Victory, Lord Nelson and 13. Royal Sovereign, Vice Admiral Collingwood. The supporting ships, which did not engage in the crossfire are also depicted to the left of Nelson’s naval column; smaller ships such as HMS Pickle, who delivered the news of victory to England and HMS Euryalus.

This image is very rare, we are able to trace only two copies, one belonging to the British Museum, the other to the University of Cambridge.