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$ 12,500

Sailor's Woolwork or Woolie of a Royal Navy Squadron at Bocca Tigris

Origin England
Period 19th Century
Materials Berlin wool & linen
W. 33.25 in; H. 19.75 in; D. 1 in;
W. 84.46 cm; H. 50.17 cm; D. 2.54 cm;
Condition Good.
Creation Date 1865
Description Sailor's Woolwork or Woolie of a Royal Navy Squadron at Bocca Tigris,
November 12, 1856,
The Battle of the Bogue,
Mid-19th Century
(Ref VM98053)

The Battle of the Bogue was fought between British and Chinese forces at the Humen strait (Bogue), Guangdong province, China, on 12–13 November 1856 during the Second Opium War. The British captured the forts in the Wangtong Islands on 12 November and the forts in Anunghoy Island the next day. I have attached as one of the photos an entry in The Illustrated London News. 30 (841). 24 January 1857. p. 75- "Capture of Bocca Tigris forts by the English squadron. The attack on North and South Wantung.

The sailor's woolwork or woolie is rare in that it depicts an actual event in history. The woolie depicts a Royal Navy squadron of six ships in the Pearl River shortly before they attached the forts located on the islands.

Dimensions: 19 3/4 inches high x 33 1/4 inches x 1 inch deep.

Th ships depicted from left to right are-

H.M.S. Encounter, 3rd Rate, 15 Guns a wood stem screw corvette.

H.M.S. Nankin, 4th rate, 50 guns, wood sailing frigate.

H.M.S. Barracouta, a wood steam paddle-wheel sloop with six guns.

H.M.S. Hornet, 2nd rate, 17 guns, wood screw sloop.

H.M.S. Calcutta, 2nd rate, 84 guns, wood sailing ship. Rear Admiral Michael Seymour had his flag on board on November 12, 1856. Prior to the action here in 1855 the ship had been in reserve, but was recommissioned due to the Crimean War and sailed for the Baltic. After two months she was sent home again, as being useless for modern naval actions.

Interestingly, in later life, part of the ship was included in a painting by James Tissot. It is called The Gallery of HMS 'Calcutta' (Portsmouth), also known as Officer and Ladies on Board HMS Calcutta, and is an 1876 oil painting by James Tissot. It depicts two ladies in fashionable clothing and a young naval lieutenant, standing on the quarter gallery at the stern of the Royal Navy warship HMS Calcutta. The painting is held by the Tate Gallery in London.

H.M.S. Coromandel, 3rd rate, 4 guns, wood paddle steam dispatch vessel

The woolwork has be illustrated In the Connoisseur's Quartly, Page 61

Reference: (

Before the battle, Rear-Admiral Michael Seymour, commander-in-chief of British forces, sent a summons to the Chinese commander of the Bogue forts:

The British Admiral wishes to spare life, and is not at war with the Chinese; and as it is necessary for him to hold possession of the Bogue Forts, until the conduct of the Viceroy Yeh can be referred to the Emperor of Pekin, one hour will be given for the purpose of clearing out; if this offer is at once accepted, boats will be permitted to pass to and from the main land and the Wantungs. In this case, the forts will remain uninjured, ready to be returned in the same state to the Chinese when these differences are over; and the rebels will neither be allowed to pass the Bogue Forts, nor to enter them whilst in our possession.

After an hour, Seymour received an answer; the Chinese commander could not give up the forts because he would "lose his head" and must therefore fight.

On the 12 November, the British squadron attacked the two Wangtong Island forts, which were fully manned and had over 200 guns mounted. Stinkpots were thrown at the British who first entered the forts. The Chinese, who stood to their guns up to the moment of the British entering the embrasures, had boats ready to escape. The forts were captured after what Seymour called a "considerable, though ill-directed" resistance of about an hour. The British casualties were one killed and five wounded on board HMS Nankin. On the 13 November, the British attacked and captured the Anunghoy forts, which mounted 210 guns. Seymour reported that although "some resistance" was offered, there were no British casualties.
Styles / Movements Chinese Export, Folk Art, Traditional
Patterns Asian/Oriental, Beach/Nautical
Dealer Reference Number VM98053
Incollect Reference Number 403636
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