The Battle of the Basque Roads was fought off the Island of Aix, on the Biscay shore of France. Captain Thomas Cochrane, under Admiral Lord Gambier, led a British force of 27 ships in an attack against the French fleet anchored in the Basque Roads protected by a boom. Explosion vessels destroyed the boom however only 4 of the British fireships tried to engage and Cochrane believed the French fleet should have been completely destroyed were it not for orders by Lord Gambier. A large part of the French fleet was either destroyed or driven ashore with only a few escaping the net.
A larger work of the action by Whitcombe can be found in the National Maritime Museum collection.