Art in Conflict

Now-a-days we have reporters who are on the front lines of conflicts around the world sending us images of life on the battles edge. Some of the artists that I have already talked about like William Simpson and Paul Mansard covered conflicts which occurred during their life time and because of their art we have a visual record of those confrontations. A snapshot of what war was really like. The two engravings which I present today are from two different types of battle. One a large scale battle and the other much much smaller.
The Battle of Culloden on 16 April 1746 was the last engagement on the British mainland. After weeks of retreat, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite army, disheartened and hungry, numbered barely 5,000 men. The Duke of Cumberland’s, 9,000 Government troops, finally caught up with his opponents at Culloden, east of Inverness.
The Highlanders employed their traditional tactic of a ferocious charge against the British line, but Cumberland’s infantry held and the attacking Jacobites were swept by musket fire. Although they succeeded in breaking through in some places, they were quickly repulsed. Cumberland’s cavalry then attacked the Highlanders from both flanks, and the Jacobite army rapidly disintegrated. The last battle of the Jacobite Rebellions probably lasted less than an hour.

The Battle of Culloden 16th April 1746
Line engraving by Luke Sullivan after Augustin Heckel, published by Bowles and Carver, 1746 reprinted 1790


The next engraving is of a duel. A battle between two people, sometimes to the death (if it occurred). The print shows a duel between Mr. Leeson and Col. McCarthy on Sept. 10th at Margate. Both combatants fired two pistols without effect (not an unusual occurrence – if you followed the rules of duelling) and then Leeson clubbed his pistol and McCarthy protested with his pistol presented and the seconds stepped between them to halt any further continuance. A mob had gathered by then and both parties left the field dissatisfied as well as on-lookers. Both Leeson and McCarthy were Irish so hence the title of the etching.

The Tipperary Duellists or Margate Heroes
hand-coloured etching published 19th Sept. 1790 by S W Fores No. 3 Piccadilly

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