'The Death of Nelson', Samuel Drummond

Battle scene with dying central figure
Study for the Death of Nelson

Oil on canvas, 314.9 x 408.9cm, about 1812

Accession number WAG 3088

Drummond spent seven years in the Navy before attending the Royal Academy schools for artistic training. He would have known at first hand what it was like to be at sea. The details in his painting from the powder monkey standing on a dead body at the left of the painting, to the scruffily dressed sailors struggling with the hammocks, contrast with Benjamin West’s glorified but sanitised composition. Faithful to the event, Drummond shows Nelson being taken from the quarterdeck.

The painting is the second largest in the Walker’s collection but it is in poor condition, and has been since it came to the gallery. As it is not possible to display the original painting in its current condition, a photograph of it is being shown in this display.