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Edward Proudfoot Montagu (1791-1862)
‘The representation of HMS Caroline Cap(tain) P(eter) Rainer attacking a Dutch Squadron in Batavia Roads on the 18th of October 1806’


Signed with initials E.P.M. and dated 1824


Watercolour on paper, H. 29 x W. 43 cm

On the 26th of July and the 18th of October 1806, British frigates had been sent on reconnaissance missions to Java and Batavia. The mission by the 36-gun HMS Caroline captained by Peter Rainer succeeded in capturing the Dutch frigate Maria Riggersbergen and destroying some smaller vessels. These missions preceded the raid on Batavia of 27 November 1806, when a large British naval force destroyed the Dutch squadron based in Batavia, which posed a threat to British shipping in the Strait of Malacca. The British admiral in command Sir Edward Pellew led the force of four ships of line to Batavia in search of the Dutch squadron. However, the largest Dutch ships had already sailed eastwards, and Pellew only discovered the frigate Phoenix and several smaller vessels which he destroyed. Unaware of the whereabouts of the main Dutch squadron he returned to his base at Madras for the winter. However, the next year Pellew destroyed most of the Dutch warships in the Asia and by the time Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles attacked and occupied Java in 1811, all Dutch warships in the Dutch East Indies had been destroyed by the British.

Edward Proudfoot Montagu (1791-1862) entered the British Navy in February 1805 and sailed to the East Indies where he joined the successful mission on board HMS Caroline against the Dutch. After his return from the voyage to the East Indies in the night of 28 February 1809, he had the misfortune to be captured off the port of Toulon by the French frigates Pénélope and Pauline. After four years of captivity, he was back in the Navy until October 1814. In 1817 he married Mary Anne Everard (1799-1859) and together they had ten sons and three daughters. The present watercolour was signed and dated by Montagu only eighteen years after the event it depicts.

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