T.G.Dutton colour lithograph of HMS Hotspur

H.M.S.Hotspur, Pioneer Ironclad Ram design,
launched in 1870 five years after the Battle of Lissa
in the Adriatic, which was the first major sea battle 
between ironclads and deliberate ramming, which 
gave legitimacy to the design. Her design however 
was problematic from a number of standpoints. 
She was small, and her engines were too 
underpowered to move her at the speed 
required to outmaneuver the battle fleets she 
would be expected to ram, or indeed to operate 
as part of her own fleet (she could make 12½ kts 
when new, or a fraction more; British battleships 
of the time were about 2 knots faster). To those 
in the know, this handicap made the ship some-
thing of an embarrassment almost as soon as she 
was commissioned; but the penny press lionized 
the ship nevertheless. She was sent to the Sea of 
Marmara during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. 
This was to be her only military duty anywhere 
close to an arena of combat. She spent much of 
her 33-year career laid up in reserve.
Another of Hotspur's problems was her gun siting. 
Because of the perceived need for auxiliary sail,
Reed had planted the foremast squarely in front of 
the forward heavy gun position, rendering direct-
ahead fire impossible. Since the only logical target
for a ram would be straight-ahead, tactical doctrine 
was modified to mandate firing on an enemy only 
after making an unsuccessful ramming attempt. At 
the time she was designed, the doctrine laid down 
that the shock of collision would jam the delicate 
training gear for a turret, so no turret was fitted. 
Instead, as originally built, the ship carried one 
12"/25 SB weapon in a heavily-armored, stationary 
cupola forward. The cupola had four ports from 
which to fire in different directions.
Colour lithograph published by Griffin & Co Portsmouth 
1st Oct 1872. A group of naval officers commissioned the 
marine artist Thomas Goldsworth Dutton.1819-1891 to 
draw a set of lithographs portraying the ships of the 
British Navy. This is one of the illustrations from the 
set. Only 348 sets were published 
Image size183x127mm Mount 290x240mm
 
Price: £42.00
Artist : 
T.G.Dutton
SKU: N02207