The horrific burning of the British East-Indiaman Kent off the coast of Bengal


Burning of the British East-Indiaman Kent by Theodore Gudin

Burning of the British East-Indiaman Kent Burning of the British East-Indiaman Kent Burning of the British East-Indiaman Kent

Burning of the British East-Indiaman Kent

The burning of the British East-Indiaman Kent, pictured by Théodore Gudin in 1825

I won’t be able to put up many posts at intheboatshed.net this week as we’ll be sailing on the Norfolk Broads for the next few days – though you can be sure I’ll try to come back with with a collection of stories and photos!

In the meantime, here are some more of my promised shots from the wonderful Paris Musée de la Marine.

Like the previous featured painting of Napoleon being feted by crowds at Antwerp, this is also by Théodore Gudin – but the subject couldn’t be more different.

Instead of a successful and adored leader surrounded by a cheering admirers, The Burning of the Kent shows the British East India Company ship sinking and burning in a storm off Bengal. The story goes that during the storm a lamp fell during a powerful gust and set fire to the ship close to the area where the gunpowder was kept.

Gudin pulls no punches in presenting the horror of the disastrous sinking, or the heroism of the rescuers from another British ship, the Cambria.

For more intheboatshed.net posts featuring Paris, click here.

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3 thoughts on “The horrific burning of the British East-Indiaman Kent off the coast of Bengal”

  1. Quite by a very lucky chance I have come across the marvellous pictures of the burning of the Kent. I will write more about it for you – but am also preparing a couple of pages to put on the www with more detail, and more pictures. May I use the pictures you have put up on the www? – and maybe you have some others, similar. (With acknowledgement, of course…let me know what I should say – or maybe I should be asking the museum?) I love the details you have pictured of the half drowned mariners: how sad. There is also a lovely oil painting in the regimental museum – check it out via Wikipedia: in some ways it is very similar as to layout – but without the close-up details.

    There is a small error in your account. An earlier Kent was attacked in theBay of Begal by the renowned French privateer ("licenced pirate") Surcouf. The fire happened to a later Kent – with almost everyone rescued by the brig Cambria, and some more from floating wreckage by the Caroline. It is a marvellous story, and I will put-up some lengthy eye-witness accounts.

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