Hermione, French frigate

Hermione, La Fayette, La Frégate de la liberté, a classic, timeless marine painting.

L’Hermione frégate

Painting 762 x 1219 cm (30″ x 48″), available, £6,000.

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Hermione truly was a ship that changed history :

So that freedom lives, men will always have to stand up and fight against indifference and resignation.” La Fayette who’s name is linked to Hermione was such a man. He remains a symbol to this day. ~ “Pour que vive la liberté, il faudra toujours que des hommes se lèvent et secouent l’indifférence ou la résignation”.


Hermione, La Fayette, La Frégate de la liberté.

Paintings of  ‘The Nelson & Trafalgar Collection’ including dimensions and prices, painted while I was honoured to be the Official Artist to HMS Victory.

More than two million people have over the last ten years visited Hermione in her dry dock, situated just a short walk from the old Corderie Royale of Rochefort sur Mer near La Rochelle.


Hermione sailing on the wide Atlantic with the French fleet of General Lafayette.

Hermione frégate in this spectacular painting is escorting supplies, munitions and troops to support General Washington with his American War of Independence.


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More recently, April 2015, a beautiful replica of this Concord class frigate, built at Rochefort sur mer, sailed in the wake of her predecessor to for-fill the reasons and emotion that inspired her creation.

Hermione’s visit the East coast of the United States of America cemented friendships as did the original Hermione when she carried the famous General Lafayette.

Follow her on Facebook or via Association Hermione-La Fayette


Hermione painting

Hermione results from an invitation to visit and tour of the ship while she was building at Rochefort-sur-Mer.

Visiting Hermione is a fascinating experience, doubly so for me as I learnt traditional boat building skills at Falmouth Technical College then worked in the marine Industry for 10 happy years.


Hermione The Painting:

Why build Hermione?

Hermione will amaze in 2015:


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To command a frigate like the dashing Hermione was the dream of every 18th & 19th century sea officer.

Frigates being  fast powerful ships offering the chance of independent command, ideal for making a reputation and a fortune in prize money.

The desire for liberty is deeply embedded in our souls and a constantly recurring them though history.

In this 762 x 1219 cm (30″ x 48″), available, price on application

In this painting of Hermione we see the frigate acting out one of her most important roles, eyes of the fleet.  

L'Hermione frégate de la libertie (detail)
L’Hermione frégate de la libertie (detail)


My ideas for this painting are generated on several levels.

One is the awesome, inspirational ship building project at Rochefort sur Mer.

This painting results from an invitation to visit and tour of the ship while building.

A fascinating experience, doubly so for me as I learnt traditional boat building skills at Falmouth Technical College then worked in the marine Industry for 10 happy years.

Many people talk of, even propose building an historic ship replica.

Despite all the prophets of doom and financial gloom Team Hermione have built a huge success and helped revitalise Rochefort sur Mer.

Other reasons that inspired me included the way Hermione‘s story is powerfully linked to the quest for liberty and spread of western civilisation.

The desire for liberty is deeply embedded in our souls and a constantly recurring them though history.


Historically Britain

more than many countries has seen its self as a bastion of liberty and progress so there was a certain irony and much confusion for Britons faced by the colonial uprising in America.

France and the USA have in effect embroidered ‘Liberty’ on their national flags.

Today our liberties have never been more threatened in our combined histories.

We can draw inspiration and courage from our illustrious predecessors.

Every young 18 th century sea officer worth his rum aspired to command a frigate.

Frigates are noted for their independence and dash; while not ships of the line of battle they can hold their own among the heaviest of cruisers.  

L'Hermione, detail
L’Hermione frégate, detail

Hermione is shown changing course and sails, top men racing aloft, probably about to change sails.

This fine modern classic painting conveys the excitement and the dash of an 18 th century frigate at sea.

The image is primarily based on material I gathered during a visit to the ship yard at Rochefort sur Mer while Hermione was building.

I was generously given a guided tour by the press officer Isabelle Georget and introduced to many of the team, a grand day out.

Lacking a suitable rigging plan for Hermione I followed the plan of a similar well know French frigate of that period, “La Belle Poule”.

I sailed on a vessel with a similar rig (Maria Asumpta built 1859) so have little difficulty interpreting the frigate’s 18th century rigging.


The painting is carefully composed for lighting, colour, and contrast arrangements.

In the fore ground the rhythm and texture of the paint all contribute to convey drama to the ship and great depth in the painting.

The painting is designed to provoke our imagination yet is still rich in detail for you to explore and enjoy.

 762 x 1219 cm (30″ x 48″), available, price on application

>  Purchase Now  <

with your credit card via Paypal, in any currency, or £/€, or for easy bank to bank see the Payments page; or in instalments by arrangement, contact Gordon Frickers.

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Why build a new Hermione?

Rochefort a town of much charm on the Atlantic seaboard of France as a town in serious decline.

Rochefort naval base was finally abandoned pre world war two as to small for 20 th century requirements of the French navy.

In 1779, Louis XVI commissioned the building of four identical frigates in Rochefort that included La Fayette’s Hermione.

The Corderie Royale was deliberately fired, destroyed by retreating Germans in World War Two and courageously rebuilt by the municipal during the 1950’s.


The Municipal saw an opportunity to reinvent Rochfort with this replica ship project creating a brighter future based on a heritage which is unique in the world.

Hermione supports The Corderie Royale at Rochefort-sur-mer, a marvellous arsenal built 1666-1669 to supply cordage for the French ships of war.

Happily today the complex is restored after 20 years of effort, includes several dry docks, the oldest dating from the 17th century and open to visitors.

Today it is a major tourist attraction bring business and wealth to Rochefort-sur-mer.


Hermione’s construction :

Hermione(1779) was a 12-pounder frigate of the Concorde class built for the French navy.

The new Hermione is a full size replica started in 1997, conforming to modern safety standards.

Teams were lead by experts from many parts of Europe this 65-meter (210 feet) ‘Concorde’ class ship is the first of her type built for over 200 years

Archived plans for this class of warship were presented by the British, shared with the Association Hermione-La Fayette in order to rebuild the Hermione at the arsenal in Rochefort according to original specifications.


The ship has been constructed in an open-air interactive museum, where artisans revived original craftsmanship and utilised original materials.

The museum has attracted millions of visitors to the reconstruction project.

Hermione-Lafayette Association :

since its foundation 19 years ago has attracted artisan craftsmen from France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Sweden and now comprises some 8,000 + members.

The Hermione project at the Corderie Royale arsenal cost 25 million Euros (US $32 million).

Hermione was financed by more than four million visitors to the shipyard which is also home to Rochefort’s original arsenal as well as through crowd-funding initiatives for specific parts of the ship.

Over 50,000 people attended the Launch of Hermione at Rochefort while a live satellite simultaneously broadcasts the launch event over much of Europe and to the Salons of the French Consulate in New York City.

The Rebuilding of Hermione the frigate Lafayette is also a way of paying an authentic French homage to liberty in the tradition of the gift of the renowned Statute of liberty, saluting La Fayette and his comrades French and American who kept alive our threatened liberties as we must continue to do inspired by the memory of this great adventure for liberty, courage and solidarity between people.

Hermione, the replica frigate :

in 2015 made her landfall at Yorktown, Virginia and called at ports including Yorktown, Mount Vernon and Philadelphia to New York and Boston.

Hermione will parallel by sea the route from Rochefort to Boston made by a young man who sought adventure and became among many other achievements, practically a son to George Washington and the French General Gilbert du Motier Marquis de Lafayette.

Her progress can be followed online, details at the end of this post.

Hermione’s existence does reaffirm the long and historic relationship between the United States, France and the cause of liberty.


As L’Hermione moves up the Eastern seaboard, she will be accompanied by a travelling exhibition. It will be part of an expansive outreach program, digitally enabled, which will reach out to millions of people.

To honour a friendship that has lasted more than 200 years between two of the most influential nations in the world, the United States and France, the Association Hermione -La Fayette embarked on a journey to re-create a piece of history with a modern twist by reconstructing the Marquis de La Fayette’s frigate Hermione.

Philippe Lalliot, Consul General of France, comments “This wonderful project follows the lines of the profound friendship, which unites France and the United States since the earliest beginnings of the American Nation, and which has never failed when crucial matters were at stake.

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L'Hermione, detail
L’Hermione frégate, detail


Hermione History :

King Louis XVI commissioned the Hermione to signify France’s support for the American revolutionary efforts.

La Fayette’s historic voyage to aid George Washington‘s cause in America’s War for Independence started on March 21, 1780, when Lafayette set sail from Rochefort, France to rally, supply and bolster rebels revolutionaries, fighting British troops in the war of independence that lead directly to the birth of The United States of America.

Many scholars agree that struggle in turn lead to the French revolution.

It took Lafayette, looking for a reputation as a renowned military mastermind and a hero of the American Revolution, 38 days to cross the Atlantic.

La Fayette and his troops would help stave off the British at the naval Battle of Chesapeake Bay and at the land Battle of Green Spring, which would ultimately lead to General Cornwallis’ surrender in Yorktown on October 19th, 1781.

Hermione became famous when she carried  to the United States in 1780 to allow him to rejoin the American side in the 

Hermione arrived in Boston on 28 April 1780 carrying the then-secret news that General Lafayette had secured French reinforcements (5,500 men and 5 frigates) for General Washington to support his American Revolutionary War.

She was underway again on 2 June and suffered serious damage in the fierce but indecisive Action of 7 June 1780 against the 32 gun HMS Iris, under James Hawker.

Hermione received the American Congress on board in May 1781.

Hermione fought several times in company with the Astrée, commanded by Lapérouse who’s later voyages of discovery was the French answer to Captain James Cook and is the subject of another of my paintings, “Laperouse at Botany Bay”.


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Fate :

Hermione was wrecked in 1793.

L'Hermione frégate de la honte (detail 4)
L’Hermione frégate de la honte (detail 4)


The naval battle of Louisbourg

was a naval battle that took place during the War of Independence of the United States between two frigates of the French Royal Marine and a British convoy of 18 merchant ships escorted by several ships of the Royal Navy.

The battle was fought off Spanish Harbour River on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia (present city of Sydney).

Despite their numerical inferiority, the two French frigates L’Astree (38) and Hermione (34), commanded respectively by captains, Laperouse and Latouche Treville, attacked and put to flight the enemy convoy.

Falmouth Marine School, Fal Tech as it was affectionately known in my ‘day’ produced courses unrivalled.

The tutors had all been working ship wrights and boat builders who had completed full traditional apprenticeships at highly respected yards like Porthleven, Cornwall.


Today’s Falmouth Marine School provides a comprehensive selection of courses from introduction to degrees in partnership with Plymouth University. 


My special thanks to the Press Officer : Association Hermione-La Fayette,  Isabelle Georget.



L’Hermione, La Frégate de la liberté

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Gordon Frickers ©, updated 28.12.2021


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