Impressive set depicting an iconic victory by the USS Constitution

Drawn & Etched by N. Pocock, from a Sketch by Lieut. Buchanan / Engraved by R. & D. Havell / Published by Messrs. Boydell & Co. , [Set of four:] DEDICATED BY PERMISSION TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LORDS COMMISSIONERS OF THE ADMIRALITY…. No. 90 Cheapside, London, January 1, 1814.
Four images executed in aquatint and engraving, average image size 13 7/8"h x 17 ¾"w plus title and margins, uncolored. Beautifully framed.

A scarce and desirable set of four naval prints depicting the progress of the December 29, 1812 duel between the USS Constitution and the 38-gun frigate HMS Java off the coast of Brazil. The Constitution, now commanded by William Bainbridge (hitherto best known for running the Philadelphia aground in Tripoli Harbor) gained another stunning American victory through superior weight of metal and excellent seamanship.

The four prints depict the Java losing her foremast during a boarding attempt, the Java nearly disabled after losing all but her main mast, the Constitution positioning itself to rake a now-completely dismasted Java, and the Java aflame and sinking as the Constitution stands off to make repairs.

England was horrified at the loss of yet another frigate, with the London Times writing on March 20, 1813 that “The public will learn with sentiments which we shall not presume to anticipate that a third British frigate has struck to an American. Any one who would have predicted such a result of an American war this time last year would have been treated as a madman or a traitor.”

Olds, Bits and Pieces, #181-184. Background from Henry E. Gruppe, The Seafarers: The Frigates, pp. 100-104.


Very good condition, with some minor toning and soiling, the latter confined largely to the margins