Capture of a French Ship by a Boat from the Constitution, 1800.


Robert Salmon (1775–about 1845)




Oil on panel


16 3/8 x 24 1/8 in. (41.6 x 61.3 cm)


Robert Salmon was born and trained in England. On coming to America in 1829, he quickly became one of this country’s leading marine painters. This painting shows the “cutting out” and capture of the French privateer Sandwich in Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo, in May 1800. The American cutter that executed the maneuver was commanded by Lieutenant Isaac Hull, as part of the squadron of USS Constitution under Commodore Silas Talbot. Talbot commended Hull’s first victory at sea in his report:

When taken, the [Sandwich] was stripped, having only her lower masts in; her rigging was coiled and stowed below. Before sun-set Lieutenant Hull had her completely rigged, royal yards athwart, guns scaled, men quartered, and in every respect ready for service.

Obviously, the subject was an appropriate one for this painting, which was commissioned from Salmon by Athenæum trustee Isaac P. Davis as a gift for Hull, who was by then a Commodore himself. Hull in turn presented the painting to the Athenæum.


Inscribed on reverse: #857 PAINTED BY R. SALMON, BOSTON, 1836.

Credit Line

Gift of Commodore Isaac Hull, 1835

Object Number