Following a succession of defeats during the Adriatic Campaign of the Napoleonic Wars, the French Navy sought to strengthen their fleet with the recently completed 74-gun Rivoli in Venice. To counter this threat the 74-gun HMS Victorious, accompanied by the 18-gun brig HMS Weazel, were sent from the Mediterranean with the intention of intercepting and capturing Rivoli on her maiden voyage. This initially resulted in a stand-off, as the British blockaded the Venitian port from mid-February but in the wake of heavy fog on 21st February, Rivoli and five smaller escort ships attempted to escape unnoticed. Contrary to the plan, the commander of Victorious, Captain John Talbot, sighted a French brig and a pursuit began. When the French brig Mercure fell behind, Rivoli shortened sail allowing the British vessels to reach them at which point Weazel engaged with the escort vessels, while Victorious continued after Rivoli. An action soon ensued lasting three hours and after Weazel rejoined Victorious, the combined British fire overwhelmed Rivoli and she lost her mizzenmast, as can be seen in this work. She eventually surrendered and was later added to the Navy. This work is based on a sketch by Captain Joyce taken soon after the action.
with Frost & Reed, London.