Trafalgar Victory Breaking the Line, the painting and Further Reading.

Trafalgar Victory Breaking the Line, a new major maritime painting and video by the distinguished naval historiographer ‘Drachinifel’.

Trafalgar, HMS Victory
Trafalgar, Victory Breaking the Line


The ship that killed Nelson is included in this painting “Victory Breaking the Line”, 81 x 50.5 cm (32 ” x 20″). This painting was commissioned for a new video about Nelson and for the home of the distinguished naval historiographer ‘Drachinifel’.

The new video

Exciting news on the Trafalgar 21st October theme,

As I write a new video is published 12 hours ago and includes a generous mention of my extensive maritime work.

‘The Battle of Trafalgar – Admiral Horatio Nelson (Part 4)’ is presented in his notably entertaining & often amusing style by ‘Drachinifel’.

This gets better, the ship that killed Nelson is included in this painting “Victory Breaking the Line”, 81 x 50.5 cm (32 ” x 20″).

This painting was commissioned for a new video about Nelson and for the home of the distinguished naval historiographer ‘Drachinifel’.

You too could commission and own a fine classic painting, contact Gordon Frickers now.

Many distinguished people and renowned companies chose Frickers paintings as you can discover by reading my illustraterésumée.

Trafalgar, truth is stranger than the fictions

It’s immodest and certainly true that few people have researched Trafalgar, it’s people and the events around it as thoroughly as I have or uncovered as much lost original material. I’ll begin to explain my claim in the following text which reveals several significant points that became lost in the fog of post Trafalgar propaganda and the dust that covers all histories.

Historical inaccuracy abounds; paintings here are as one of my followers put it, “you get an intimate front row seat to history” and is in most instances, as near truth and as near ‘documentary’, as meticulous, diligent research and real artistry can get.

On this Further Reading page ‘Trafalgar HMS Victory Breaking the Line‘ you can discover more about the very numerous misunderstandings about this key Trafalgar moment and why the composition of this painting appears as shown and is definitive.

Trafalgar, Nelson was more clever than generally appreciated and Villeneuve had anticipated most of Nelson’s plan of attack.

Trafalgar, HMS Victory
Trafalgar, Victory Breaking the Line, a detail.

Trafalgar and The Nelson Touch

Contrary to popular belief, as described in numerous books and videos, Nelson’s column did not sail directly at the Combined Fleet line.

Nelson lead his division to sail to intercept the leading squadron of the combined Fleet with each British ship gybing in turn, successively, about 200m from the line of the Combined Fleet.

The British ships of Nelson’s division then sailed down the line of the Combined Fleet before breaking the line approximately one third of the way down.

A careful examination of Nelson’s conversation at that time with Captain Hardy, together with the official reports and drawings made by surviving senior officers of the Combined Fleet for the Minister of Marine (Paris) confirm my statement above.

I will here over simplify and explain in detail quoting sources, later.

This clever tactic gave the lead ships the impression they were about to be attacked while in actuality they were as trapped as rabbits in car headlights thus they failed to obey their Admiral’s order to turn back to support the parts of the fleet that Nelson’s ships were doubling and destroying before their vital support could arrive.

Paintings of Trafalgar, Victory Breaking the Line, a detail which a computer screen will show you as larger than life, in more senses than one.

The French commander, Pierre Villeneuve had anticipated Nelson wanting to double his line and isolate individual ships to destroy them in turn.

Villeneuve was contrary to many opinions, a brave and competent officer, not an inspired officer but certainly not as often claimed, timid and incompetent.

He had seen Nelson’s fleet double the French line the battle of the Nile, with a catastrophic result for the French.

Villeneuve’s orders to his captains before they fatefully sailed from Cadiz are very clear and well recorded.

The Combined Fleet was to form a double line for better mutual support and if the centre or rear of the line was enveloped, ships ahead were to turn back and support the enveloped ships.

Why the Combined Fleet failed to carry out those clear instructions is a separate topic I can cover if I have a good reason to do so.

Paintings of Trafalgar, Victory Breaking the Line, a detail which a computer screen will show you as larger than life, in more senses than one, profit, enjoy.

Feel free to ask me any questions you have about Trafalgar. I’m can share my hard won knowledge provided you give me a good reason to make this so.

Trafalgar, sources I consulted include

  • My own very extensive archive, photographs, sketches, copies of official documents and my library collected over 29 years travelling and researching in England, France and Spain.

This includes during the period I was from 1993, Official Artist to HMS Victory while she was prepared for the 200th anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar and death of Lord Nelson in 2005.

Bucentaure, Captain Magendie’s sketch maps.
  • Official Archives in Paris and Brest.
  • Official Archives in Madrid, Cadiz and the Spanish naval base at Cadiz, the latter by kind invitation of the port Admiral.
  • Archives in the United States of America.
  • Archives in Bermuda.
  • Mister Peter Goodwin MPhil, I.Eng, MIMarEST, is the distinguished naval author of currently 17 published books
Captain Magendie’s of the Bucentaure, another of his sketch maps.

He served in the Royal Navy in nuclear submarines and is a qualified marine engineer. He was Keeper and Curator, historical and technical advisor to the MOD for HMS Victory including restoration of the ship and interpretation between 1991 and 2011.

Redoutable, Captain Lucas sketch map
  • The 100 Gun Ship Victory, John McKay, Conway Press ISBN 0 85177 444 x
  • The Trafalgar Campaign, Edouard Desbriere, Oxford Press 1933
  • HMS Victory 1765 to 1812, Owner’s Workshop Manual, Peter Goodwin, Haynes 2011, ISBN 978 0 85733 085 7
  • Report of a Committee Appointed by the Admiralty 1913 by order of the King.
  • Trafalgar and the Spanish Navy, John D Harbron, Conway, ISBN 0 85177 477 6.
  • The Seventy-Four Gun Ship, volumes 2, Jean Boudriot, published by Jean Boudriot, Paris 1974, ISBN 2 903178 15 1, and volume 3 ISBN 2 903178 16 x.
  • Uniforms of Trafalgar, John Fabb & Jack Cassin-Scott, Batsford of London, ISBN 0 7134 02199.
  • Nelson and Victory, Peter Whitlock and William Pearce, Portsmouth R N M, ISBN ?
  • The Masting and Rigging of English Ships of War 1625 -1860, James Lees, Conway, ISBN 0 851177 290 0
  • Various members of The 1805 Club.
  • other lesser sources can be supplied on request.
Where Nelson fell on HMS Victory
Gordon Frickers & Peter Goodwin on the quarter deck of HMS Victory

My very sincere thanks

go to the many people in England, France and Spain who understood the possibilities of my Nelson and Trafalgar series of paintings, my original ideas and historic texts.

While it is not possible to name all my collegues and supporters, I particularly wish to acknowledge the men who invited me to participate in Victory 2005, Trafalgar.

John Mitchel, David Ellingham and the late great Nick Varley. To these I wish to add the earliest firm supporters, Commander Mike Cheshire (Captain of HMS Victory when I joined the ship) and the now legendary Mr. Peter Goodwin who was Keeper and Curator of HMS Victory.

We who appreciate and benefit from these art works all owe a debt to these generous, imaginative and far sighted people who have all contributed very willingly to making of my Nelson and Trafalgar series.

Frickers, Gordon
Gordon Frickers, artist, painter.

Propaganda, half truths and outright lies, there is so much in circulation.

I make a very considerable effort to present you with art work which gives you a feeling of intimacy, vibrancy and when ever possible is highly accurate.

Frickers as in Gordon, commission Gordon to see your thoughts take form.

All these ‘Nelson and Trafalgar’ series paintings are eminently suitable for public International exhibition.

Trafalgar Paintings

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If you would like to better appreciate enduring quality and the best investment value you may explore my website to discover exceptional paintings and beautiful prints. 

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