In this powerful painting, the line of prison ships forms a dark diagonal across the image from the left foreground to the centre of the picture. Behind these ships, to the south-east, lies the town of Portsmouth, its skyline visible against the sky in the centre, with Gosport to the right and the entrance to the Harbour in the centre. To the right other ships, with pennants flying, are also anchored 'in ordinary' (reserve) in the Upper Harbour, including what appears to be a Spanish prize. An American trader is also anchored in the centre background, and in the foreground small craft have been depicted with their sails billowing in the stiff breeze. A swathe of pink cloud dominates the sky, but the sea contrasts darkened areas on the hulks to the more brilliant light above the channel, which leads the viewer’s eye to the open sea and France – an emotional longing by Garneray to escape his long internment.
The Clive Lloyd Collection
purchased from Christie's, Sale 9631, Lot 379, 21st May, 2003.