When it comes to an illustrated record of British naval action there is only one and it's the desire of all naval history enthusiasts and antique print collectors. This is James Jenkins "The Naval Achievements of Great Britain. From the Year 1793 to 1817." These aquatint prints are prized by collectors. A key consideration for collectors is the quality of the colouring and these really are exceptional. If British naval history is your passion then these are the prints to collect.
The importance of this work was aptly stated by Roger Quarm the curator of pictures at the National Maritime Museum in the introduction to the 1998 facimile edition "As a record of naval events spanning a period of over twenty years it has no precedent. At no time prior to 1817 had a publisher attempted such a complete volume of documentary naval prints. It is the quality of accuracy which makes Jenkins so valuable"
Above: Capture of the Argus, Aug.t. 14.th. 1813. Painted by T. Whitcombe. Engraved by T. Sutherland. Publish'd Feb.y. 1. 1817 at 48 Strand for J. Jenkin's Naval Achievements. A naval battle scene showing the capture of the American brig Argus under the command of Lieutenant W. H. Allen by the British brig Pelican under the command of Commander J. F. Maples off St. David's lighthouse.
HOW TO IDENTIFY:
The original prints from "The Naval Achievements of Great Britain. From the Year 1793 to 1817" are aquatint engravings on a medium weight wove paper. All the plates identify at bottom left Painted by T. Whitcombe and bottom right T. Sutherland (sculpt) who produced the aquatint engravings. Some plates were engraved by Jeakes and Bailey after Whitcombe. Each plate is accompanied by a text page describing the action, often with lists of ships captured or sunk, and excerpts from contemporary bulletins, dispatches, letters, and speeches. The first edition appeared in 1817. Early issues have watermarks of Whatman with the undated watermark IIS&S on some plates. The vignette title page was uncoloured in the first issue. The approx engraved image area of the plates are 7" x 10.25" (175mm x 260mm). Engraved plate mark area is approx 8.5 x 11.75 (215mm x 300mm). The folio sheet size is approx 11.5" x 14" (290mm x 355mm).
You can see more aquatint prints from Jenkins Naval Achievements HERE