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Cover Art
Author Garneray, Louis, 1783-1857.

Title The floating prison : the remarkable account of nine year's captivity on the British prison hulks during the Napoleonic Wars 1806 to 1814/ Louis Garneray ; translated from the French with a foreword and notes by Richard Rose.

Published London : Conway Maritime Press, 2003.


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  940.27092 GARN    AVAILABLE
Physical description xxv, 246 pages : illustrations (some colour) ; 25 cm
Contents I A View of the Hulks ix -- II Garneray in Perspective xiv -- III Artist as Author xx -- A. Prisoner of War Hulks at Portsmouth 220 -- B. French Officers on Board the Hulks and on Parole 221 -- C. Garneray's Sources 222 -- D. Rafales 224 -- E. Women on Board the Hulks 226 -- F. Mortality of Prisoners of War 228 -- G. Persons Connected with the Hulks 229 -- H. Garneray's Views of the Portsmouth Hulks 233.
Summary 'Remember this well; on board the hulks a prudent man never lets himself be carried away by generosity, nor by any other feeling whatsoever. You must get used to shutting your heart, your eyes and your ears to all pity.' This bleak advice was given to Louis Garneray in 1806 on his first day as a prisoner of war in one of the British hulks, the former warships used as floating prisons in Portsmouth Harbour. The Floating Prison is Garneray's unique account of his captivity during the Napoleonic wars. It is the remarkable record of a young man of action, captured at sea, who began a career as an artist in the almost impossible conditions of the hulks. He pursued his art with astonishing determination and went on to become one of France's greatest marine painters. This lucid and sometimes grimly humorous account of the bizarre and grotesque world Garneray knew in the floating prisons was first published in 1851. Original woodcuts designed by Garneray, colour reproductions of his paintings, and illustrations of life on the hulks introduce the reader to a great artist who was also a notable writer. The foreword, notes and appendices by Richard Rose are complementary to Garneray's text, reveal the true stories of French prisoners in Great Britain and are an outstanding contribution to an unknown aspect of maritime history in the Napoleonic era.
The Floating Prison is the first complete English translation of Garneray's own account of life on board the hulks. The book describes a world where the prisoners enforced their own savage discipline, the strong preyed on the weak, and men who had gambled away their clothes and food starved to death. Other prisoners forged banknotes, fought duels with razors tied to sticks and plotted desperate escapes. Yet the hulks also contained prisoners who studied, earned money from various trades, wrote and performed plays and created exquisite ship models. A few, including Garneray, were artists. While observing the grotesque contrasts of his surroundings and the occasional grim humour of life as a prisoner of war, Garneray struggled to develop his talents as a painter. In the course of his captivity he painted a remarkable series of views of the hulks, some of which are reproduced in this book for the first time. The Floating Prison was first published in France in 1851. Richard Rose's elegant version of Garneray's text is enhanced by a commentary which explores and exposes the mysteries and false trails by which Garneray attempted to conceal many of the true facts of his early career.
Subject Garneray, Louis, 1783-1857 -- Imprisonment.
Great Britain. Royal Navy -- Prisons.
Napoleonic Wars, 1800-1815 -- Prisoners and prisons, British.
Prisoners of war -- France -- Biography.
Prisoners of war -- England -- Portsmouth.
Prison hulks -- England -- Portsmouth.
ISBN 0851779425