The international squadron carrying Prince Otto of Bavaria to become King of Greece firing a salute off Nafplio, February 1833 RMG BHC1149
The international squadron carrying Prince Otto of Bavaria to become King of Greece firing a salute off Nafplio, February 1833
(Updated, October 2016) Previously called 'A Naval Review' and, more recently, a courtesy visit by the new King Otto to the squadron that brought him to Nafplio (formerly Nafplion, Nauplion, or Napoli di Romania), this incident appears to be one just preceding his investiture there. Otto (or Otho, b. 1815) had been elected by international treaty to the new monarchy, under a three-man regency council until 1835, following the murder of the first Greek head of state, Joannis Kapodistrias, at its initial capital of Nafplio in 1831 (it moved to Athens only in 1834).The prince was brought from Trieste in HM frigate 'Madagascar', 46 guns, Captain Edmund Lyons, accompanied by allied vessels, with more apparently joining for the occasion off Nafplio, where 'Madagascar' arrived on 30 January, accompanied by a throng of boats and people that met the convoy off the southern point of the Pelopponese. By the time of Otto's formal landing and proclamation on 6 February 1833, the many vessels in the bay included at least five British warships, three Russian, seven French, one Sicilian, and probably at least one Austrian as well (since shown here). Amid salutes and ceremony the British, French and Russian vice-admirals, their officers and crews, went ashore with Otto at Thyrente, about two miles from Nafplio, and appear to have escorted him to his proclamation there. On 8 February, he made his return courtesy visit to the vice-admirals, visiting each in turn, with 21-gun salutes being fired and the yards of the squadron manned in salute. However, what is probably shown here is the arrival off Nafpoli, about 2 February, of HM steamer 'Meteor' , bearing the Governor of Malta, Sir Frederick Ponsonby, to attend the ceremonies on behalf of Queen Victoria, with yards manned and mutual salutes being fired. It is apparently flying the appropriate standards; a courtesy one for Otto (presumably that at the main here, since not British) and probably -though misrepresented- a British royal standard at the fore, with the British white ensign astern. 'Meteor' (Lieutenant William Symonds, 2 guns, and the only steamer involved) was back at Malta by the 7th after a three-day passage, so not present for Otto's visit to the squadron on the 8th. It only left Malta for Nafpoli again on the 10th, probably to collect Ponsonby's party. The British senior naval officer present was the Mediterranean commander-in-chief, Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Hotham, in the 'Alfred' (ex-'Asia') 50 guns, with the 'Barham', 50, 'Scylla', 18, and 'Rapid', 10, as well as 'Madagascar'. The Russian frigate 'Anna' and French corvette 'Cornelie' - both in the escort from Trieste - were among their ships attending, and Vice-Admiral Hugon is named in British press reports as the senior French representative. The British ship shown at centre is the 'Madagascar' with a Russian schooner ahead, an Austrian ship astern, and the Russian vice-admiral to its right, flying a courtesy British Union as a jack to acknowledge British naval seniority in the event. A French ship is at far right. The smaller vessels are Greek, flying the same presumably Bavarian standard as on the 'Meteor'. The building at left by the garlanded landing jetty flies the Greek revolutionary blue-on-white cross of the 1820s and foreground figures are shown in Greek dress. The artist may be one of two sons of Anton Schranz (d. 1839), both of whom worked on Malta: either Antonio (Anton junior) or his older brother Giovanni (John), since there is circumstantial evidence that one of them may have been present at the Nafpoli events in 1833, though yet to be proved: John is the more likely for doing such a detailed oil, including if from sketches provided to him. The likely commissioner or client intended would have been a British one present, be it Ponsonby, Symonds or another of the British captains. We are grateful to Professor John Schranz for information (March 2016) which has allowed provisional correction of this entry.
A naval review