Alexandre Solka

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  • in reply to: Commodore George Walker and Musicians on Board Ship… #15871
    Alexandre Solka

    Hello once again,

    A small addendum to the previous post. Meanwhile, Dr Megan Barford from the Greenwich Maritime Museum very kindly answered to my email
    and wrote that we definitely read on the globe Gibraltar Cape Saint Vincent. Meanwhile, she also noticed that the first word, although hardly legible, should be related to the latin word for strait: fretum. Therefore, it seems toldly logical to propose the following reading: fretum Herculeum, Gibraltar, Cape Saint Vincent, as fretum Herculeum, being the Strait of Gibraltar.

    I will look forward your comments.

    All the best. Sincerely yours. Alexandre Solcà

    in reply to: Commodore George Walker and Musicians on Board Ship… #15841
    Alexandre Solka

    Dear Mr Willis,

    Thank you for this very interesting topic and I would like to share with you a few elements I tried to work on .

    I sent an email to the Royal Museum of Greenwich collections regarding the portrait of Privateer George Walker. ( No answer for the moment…

    Regarding the following inscription, ‘F…… Gib…l…C. St. Vin’

    I would like to know first if you may obtain some more detailed and zoomed pictures of this particular object so that we might decipher a few more letters.

    If yes, would you be able to send me one copy as a pdf or jpeg file?

    Secondly, I propose to read this inscription on this globe as “Fought near Gibraltar at Cape Saint-Vincent.”

    Do you think this fits with the letters being written on the globe?

    This enquiry is connected to a small communication I intend to submit later to the Society for Nautical Research.

    I thank you for your support and will look very forward for your reply.

    Sincerely yours,

    Alexandre Solcà

    in reply to: Invention of Davits for Ships' Boats #14328
    Alexandre Solka

    Dear Mr Willis,

    In complement to all the above mentioned useful references, I would just like to present a few other interesting elements.

    The first one is from J. H. Craine, Ship Modelling Hints And Tips, Chapter eleven, “Helpful hints on earlier davits”

    The entire chapter is very useful but the most interesting relevant passage is the following:
    “There is one type of davit I must not forget. They were fixed and built in the ship and were in use in the seventeenth century, and, perhaps earlier. I refer to the davits over the stern or counter. They were a special feature of eighteenth century ships and during the Napoleonic Wars these were the only type of davits depicted on paintings, sketches and the contemporary models.”

    Secondly, you may also find useful information in this publication: John Leather, The Gaff Rig Handbook: History, Design, Techniques, Developments, especially
    pages 207-208, suggesting a Danish connection.

    Finally, speaking about Peter Goodwin, you may have a look at his publication “HMS Victory Pocket Manual 1805: Admiral Nelson’s Flagship At Trafalgar”, page 86,
    “Using the quarter davits”

    Also there you may find very interesting details. I wish you may have found my small contribution useful to the matter.

    I thank you for your attention and will look forward discussing further on the subject.

    Sincerely yours,

    Alexandre Solcà

    in reply to: Lieutenant Henry Fortescue painted by an equine artist? #10948
    Alexandre Solka

    Hello Sam,

    Thank you very much for your answer and I think indeed this is the right track! You’re welcome.)) I do take care of researches on egyptology and ancient Scandinavia. So detective work is almost my second profession and I love the world of the Royal Navy. I even have the future project to write a specific research booklet on the lieutenants and friends of Lord Nelson in the style of John Sugden, so help me God.

    There just needs to be done further enquiry to precise even more in details the family relationships of the Goodricke and Fortescue
    at the time of the paintings made by Sir John Ferneley but I definitely think this is the right pattern.

    I will keep you informed of my findings. Myself being not on English soil, it will go a bit longer but I know all should be possible to find.

    Many thanks as well and I look forward discussing more about it with you.

    Sincerely yours,


    in reply to: Lieutenant Henry Fortescue painted by an equine artist? #10907
    Alexandre Solka

    Dear Mr Willis,

    Thank you for this very interesting and challenging case!) I am not sure of course of the connection but here is one element which I think is worth to study further. It sounds to me that the acquaintance made between Lt Fortescue and the famous equine painter Sir John Ferneley may have occurred as follows.

    Indeed, when looking at this page, here is what we find. A beautiful equine picture of Sir Henry James Goodricke, made by
    John Ferneley senior.

    Here is indeed the missing link in my opinion…

    Sir Henry James Goodricke, 7th Bt.1
    M, #205995, d. 1833

    Sir Henry Goodricke, 7th Bt.
    by John Ferneley Senior, 1877 2
    Sir Henry James Goodricke, 7th Bt. was the son of Sir Harry Goodricke, Bt. and Charlotte Fortescue.1 He died in 1833, unmarried.1
    He gained the title of 7th Baronet Goodricke.
    [S21] L. G. Pine, The New Extinct Peerage 1884-1971: Containing Extinct, Abeyant, Dormant and Suspended Peerages With Genealogies and Arms (London, U.K.: Heraldry Today, 1972), page 53. Hereinafter cited as The New Extinct Peerage.
    [S3409] Caroline Maubois, “re: Penancoet Family,” e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as “re: Penancoet Family.”

    On Charlotte Fortescue

    Thomas Fortescue1
    M, #180688, d. February 1769

    Thomas Fortescue was the son of William Fortescue.2 He married Elizabeth Hamilton, daughter of James Hamilton and Hon. Anne Mordaunt. He died in February 1769.3
    He lived at Randalstown, County Louth, Ireland.1
    Children of Thomas Fortescue and Elizabeth Hamilton
    Rt. Hon. James Fortescue+2
    Charlotte Fortescue+2
    William Henry Fortescue, 1st Earl of Clermont1 b. 5 Aug 1722, d. 30 Sep 1806
    Margaret Fortescue+1 b. 27 Mar 1728, d. 22 Sep 1756

    Indeed, Charlotte Fortescue must have been a family member related to Lt Henry Fortescue.

    Then, when Sir Ferneley must have Sir Henry James Goodricke before his death in 1833, he must have made the acquaintance of Mrs
    Charlotte Fortescue, who maybe recommended the services of the painter to Lt Fortescue.

    I think this is an interesting beginning of a trail. I will be glad to have your opinion on it.

    Sincerely yours,

    Alexandre Solcà

    in reply to: Ice Poles & Phipps' 1773 Arctic Expedition #10018
    Alexandre Solka

    Hello once again,

    I found a very important website for the early Arctic expeditions and especially regarding illustrations and pictures concerning British Northern Pole travels, boats and other informations.

    Here is the website:

    And on this website, I found some very interesting pictures.

    And please do see the following page

    with pictures numbered 67a to 71a!! (rows 12-13)

    I will ask then to this center if they have more pictures or illustrations but I think this is already very interesting material.

    All the best and looking forward your comments,

    Sincerely yours,


    in reply to: Ice Poles & Phipps' 1773 Arctic Expedition #9950
    Alexandre Solka

    Dear Mr Scott,

    Thank you very much for your answer, comments and support. I am very glad that my informations proved to be useful.

    I have also been searching more informations specifically concerning ice poles in early North Pole expeditions but for the moment, I didn’t find
    any specific illustration except on the site I mentioned ( ). However, I will keep on searching specific illustrations of ice poles and how they were used and I will keep you informed of the results.

    All the best and good luck as well,

    Sincerely yours,


    in reply to: Newton Stevens and a Survey of America 1775-1782? #9918
    Alexandre Solka

    Hello once again,

    I found again two interesting links connected to Harry Newton Stevens collection of 176 Atlantic Neptune folders.

    “A London dealer in books and atlases, Stevens amassed, over the course of fifty years, the most complete collection of Atlantic Neptune examples in the world, including first issue charts as well as those charts later revised by Des Barres”. cf.

    cf. also as well this site with very important references

    “J.F.W. Des Barres and The Atlantic Neptune”; pp. 18-22; National Maritime Museum (Greenwich), Henry Newton Stevens Collection: 47*a; Cf. Debard, “The Family Origins of Joseph Fredericks Wallet DesBarres: A Riddle Finally Solved”, Nova Scotia Historical Review, Vol 14, No. 2 (1994), p.15. – See more at:

    as well as this one as well:

    I also found this exhaustive list which is also very interesting.

    And also these one as well from the Congress Library online,%20published%20for%20the%20use%20of%20the%20Royal%20Navy%20of%20Great%20Britain,%20by%20Joseph%20F.%20W.%20Des%20Barres,%20under%20the%20directions%20of%20the%20Right%20Honble.%20the%20Lords%20Commissioners%20of%20the%20Admiralty.&linkText=Back+to+bibliographic+information,%20published%20for%20the%20use%20of%20the%20Royal%20Navy%20of%20Great%20Britain,%20by%20Joseph%20F.%20W.%20Des%20Barres,%20under%20the%20directions%20of%20the%20Right%20Honble.%20the%20Lords%20Commissioners%20of%20the%20Admiralty.+-+Utility%20of%20the%20Atlantic%20Neptune

    So here are the main new files I found and I will be glad to discuss of them.

    Sincerely yours,

    Alexandre Solcà

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    in reply to: Ice Poles & Phipps' 1773 Arctic Expedition #9917
    Alexandre Solka

    Dear Mr Scott,

    Thank you very much for this very interesting topic. I am also very interested in early Arctic expeditions but
    also on the early career of Lord Nelson and of course, the Phipps’ Artic expedition is one of his most interesting and quite unusual assignments.

    So to come to the point, first of all, I recommend you to read entirely the wonderful study and fascinating chapter specifically dedicated to this expedition in Mr John Sugden’s book, called Nelson, A Dream of Glory, entitled “Northward Ho!”, pp.63-81 and the notes attached to it, pp. 802-3! You will find a very accurate description and account of the entire expedition as well as a precise comparison of the different documents related to the Phipp’s expedition as well as the ships’ logs and other letters as well.

    I also recommend you to read the anonymous diary published as Journal of a Voyage Undertaken as well as his publication by Albert H. Markham, ed., Northward.

    Finally, the related charts and views, most of the time produced by Philippe d’Auvergne, are in the William L. Clements Library, the University of Michigan, Ann Harbor.

    But most of all, I found a wonderful file in pdf which should really give you more important datas. I tried to download here for the forum but it sounds it is a
    too big file..(

    Also finally, you may find this link interesting as well on Sir Phipp’s own account:

    Below here are my first comments and I hope they will be interesting to you as well.

    Now, strictly regarding ice poles connected to these two ships, the HM Ships Racehorse and Carcass, here is what I found. Specifically on page 70, after mentionning the ice shifting along the two ships in a very heavy fog, here is this key information: “… Minds had to be concentrated, because the navigation was fiendishly tricky amid drifting bergs big enough to damage ship timbers and near an ice pack that could close, trap and crush with fearful speed…

    For days the ships tacked to and fro, using ice poles to stave off bergs and ice anchors thrown from each bow. The small boats were constantly out, hauling the ships this way and that. Nelson was probably employed on the boats of the Carcass, the longboat, launch and cutter… But try as they might, neither ship could entirely avoid colliding with chunks of ice, and the succession of severe shocks they received proved the worth of the additional strengths that had been built into the tough little vessels before sailing…”

    Then should be quoted a somewhat later event in this expedition, pages 77-78, between the 7th and 8th of August 1773. “… Aboard the ships, some four miles behind the launches, movements in the ice were detected. ‘Rending and cracking with a tremendous noise’ [quoted, not said from where, possibly from Sir Phipp’s own account, “A Voyage Towards the North Pole”(cf. BL King’s 224) but most probably from Albert H. Markham’s edition p.203 as well as Journal of a Voyage Undertaken, pages 81-83”, cf. notes 22 and 23, page 803 in John Sugden’s monography],
    it changed direction with the current and started moving the ships westwards, towards the launchers and open water. Once again, the deliverance seemed Heaven sent. (And this is clearly what everyone must have felt then, personal comment) ‘Every officer and evey idler on board laboured now for life’, wrote one diarist. Sails were spread, and
    anchors, poles, axes and saws joined the battle to push the ships through the shattering ice pack…

    ‘It is impossible to conceive the joy which, like wildfire, spread throughout the ship at this news’, Floyd wrote.

    Finally, strictly concerning ice poles, I am sure you may find in the different sources I mentioned, you will find illustrations of these and I hope these different elements will be for you of interest.

    Finally, you may also be interested to contact this institute (

    I stay at your disposal for any further information and you may contact me by email ( and skype (sashavsmokve)

    If any other member is also interested to share other informations on the Phipp’s Artic Expedition, fell free to contact me.

    Sincerely yours,

    Alexandre Solcà

    in reply to: Newton Stevens and a Survey of America 1775-1782? #9882
    Alexandre Solka

    Dear Sam Willis,

    How do you do? Thank you for this very interesting question! I am also fascinated by the English Navy times along the coasts of America. I am also preparing an analysis of some letters of Lord Nelson from his times in America.

    Regarding strictly Newton Stevens and his Survey of America, I found the following links which bring an excellent first overview of the interesting patterns linked to his survey.

    I will be very glad to discuss further this matter with you. I leave you my email ( and my skype (sashavmoskve).

    All the best and I will wait for your answer.

    Alexandre Solcà

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)