Neal Prince Trust

GIBB, W. (c.1896) Folio,
"Naval & Military Trophies and Personal Relics of British Heroes"

Plate:                    Pistol of Sir Ralph Abercromby, and Sash by which the Body of Sir John Moore was lowered to his Grave     

Inventory No: NAPT.1999.000464
GIBB, W. (c.1896), British, Folio,"Naval & Military Trophies and Personal Relics of British Heroes"

Inventory No: NAPT.1999.000464
GIBB, W. (c.1896), British, Folio,"Naval & Military Trophies and Personal Relics of British Heroes"

Artist:           William Gibb (c.1896), Edinburgh, Scotland

Plate:          Pistol of Sir Ralph Abercromby, and Sash by which the Body of Sir John Moore was lowered to his Grave     

Folio:         Naval and Military Trophies and Personal Relics of British Heroes”

Publisher:     John C. Nimmo, London, England

Printer:         Imprimerie Lemercier et cie

Edition:        First Edition

Published:   1896, this plate is the first of nine monthly parts of an excellent work designed by Mr. William Gibb, of Edinburgh, England, of whom was a Master Illustrator and Chromolithographer within the publishing industry. This work is a prime example of Mr. Gibb to set out the Navel and Military Glory of England by a serious of water-colour drawings to which the appended descriptive notes were by Mr. Richard R. Holmes¹.  The induction within the Folio was by Viscount Wolseley.

Edition:        Plate 1 of 36

Date:            1896 (Acquired in 1978)

Medium:      Chromolithograph Plate, printed by Lemercier in Paris, heightened with Arabic gum.

Materials:     Water Color on Beige Pager;

Markings:     Signed. Lower Right Corner “W. Gibb”;

Dimensions: 16" x 12"

Framed:       Yes, this item has remained within a decoratively matted, original frame since acquired by Mr. Prince

Inventory No: NAPT.1999.000464

Provenance:  Neal Prince Trust u/a/d 10.18.1999

Mr. Neal Prince

James Papalia Gallery, Clifton, New Jersey

James Papalia (Dealer) for Marshall Fields & Company

Footnote:             THE LITERARY WORLD – BOOK REVIEWS, Page 44, Vol. 54, From the July to December 1896 Edition, James Clarke & Company, Publishers, 13 & 14 Fleet Street, E.C., London, England

Footnote:             This item is part of Mr. Prince's Chromolithograph Collection.





To the two Generals whose relics are represented in this place is due the credit of renewing the ancient discipline and military reputation of the troops of Great Britain. Born in 1734, and having joined the army in 1756, it was nearly forty years later that, on the breaking out of the war with France, Sir Ralph Abercromby was able to exhibit his powers of command and organization. Having always strongly opposed the American war, it was not till after the demoralization among the British troops caused by that unhappy struggle, as well as by the inglorious campaigns under the Duke of York in Flanders, that he found himself confronted with, and set himself to work to remedy, the corruption which then pervaded all ranks of the service. “The army was like a neglected machine, its officers knew they owed their grades to political influence, and the ministers were not slow to use these grades for political purposes; while the soldiers were regarded as unimportant factors in an army, and were secured and provided for as cheaply as possible. When he came to the front after the campaigns in Flanders, England had no great or even tolerable general, with the exception, perhaps, of Lord Cornwallis. When he died, having served in every important campaign, he left many a worthy successor and an army second to none in everything but equipment.”¹ Under him Lieutenant-Colonel Wellesley commanded the 33rd Regiment and learned his first lesson in the art of war, as did most of the commanders of repute who followed him. “It is more difficult to breathe the spirit of military prowess and military discipline into an army than to win a battle, and this is what Abercromby did.”It was in the autumn of 1800 that he was ordered to proceed to Egypt to expel or capture of French army left there by Napoleon. On the 2nd of March he landed at Aboukir Bay. On the 21st he was attacked by the French under Menon. The battle was stubbornly contested, but ended in the complete rout of the French, who lost three generals and three thousand men. The British loss was about fourteen hundred. Sir Ralph Abercromby was wounded towards the close of the action by a musket-ball which lodged in the hip-joint. After the victory was won he was moved to the Foudroyant, the flagship of the British Fleet, and on the 28th he died. The pistol was presented to the Royal United Service Institution by Colonel the Right Honorable S. Sidney North, Commanding 2nd Vol. Battn. Oxfordshire Lt. Infantry. Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore, born in 1761, joined the 51st Regiment at the age of fifteen. He served with this crop during the American war, and when it was disbanded at the peace in 1783 was placed on half-pay. He was returned to Parliament as member for the Linlithgow and other Scotch burghs, and in 1785 again was placed on full-pay, soon afterwards rejoining his old regiment, of which he became Lieutenant-Colonel in 1790. It is impossible in the limits of this notice to mention his great services to his country in Corsica, the West Indies, where he first came under the personal notice of Sir Ralph Abercromby, and in Ireland. He commanded a division of the troops with Abercromby, who then held the Mediterranean command, and in Egypt at the battle of Alexandria and in the previous operations he commanded the reserves. Here, at the time of victory when Abercromby fell, he also was severely. Here, at the time of victory when Abercromby fell, he also was severely wounded, but recovered in time to take up the command of his division and to escort the French army, which had surrendered at Cairo, to the sea. His name, however, is associated for all time with his masterly retreat in the face of the vastly superior forces of the French to Corunna, where he fell mortally wounded in the hour of victory. His advance into Spain from Portugal to attack the French was one of the boldest enterprises ever determined on by a British general, but rendered almost nugatory by the worthless promises of support held out to him by the Spaniards. What is and the retreat to Corunna did is, perhaps, best stated by an impartial and able critic.² “On the 8th of November (1808) Napoleon crossed the frontier, and on the 4th of December Madrid surrendered…. Army corps under his marshals was to overrun the southern provinces of the Peninsula while an overwhelming force under his personal leadership was to cross the Portuguese frontier and carry the Eagles to Lisbon. From this determination he was turned aside by the sudden intelligence that the small body of British troops commanded by Sir John Moore, which he supposed to be retreating toward Lisbon, and which he expected to drive on board the ships there, had cut loose from their connection with it and by a daring mover to the north were threatening his own lines of communication with France. Upon the receipt of this news on this 21st of December, he at once postponed his previous purposes to the necessity of dislodging and driving out of Spain the little force of less then twenty-five thousand men that had dared thus to traverse his plans. Thus was Napoleon headed from his course, and Spain saved at a most critical moment by the petty army that had come from the sea, and which had only dared to make this move - -well-nigh desperate at the best - - because it knew that, in the inevitable retreat it would find in the sea no impassable barrier, but a hospitable host - -in truth, its own country. The Peninsula gained time to breathe, which under stern compulsion Napoleon never granted to an enemy, and the opportunity thus lost to him never again returned.” Moore fell at the age of forty-seven, on the 16th of January 1809. This sash, which lowered him into the grave, belonged to Lieut-Colonel Paul Anderson, C.B., of the 60th Rifles, Deputy Adjutant-General, and afterwards Commandant of Head Quarters during the campaign. 

From the Museum of the Royal United Service Institution.


¹ “Dict. of National Biography,” I., 44.

² Mahan: “Influence of Sea Power on the French Revolution and Empire,” II., 295-



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