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French 74-gun 'Le Héros, 1778 (with plans)

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Le Héros

(translation 'The Hero')

1778 - 1793

French 74-gun Ship of the line

large.jpg

Source : here

Built by J.-M. B. Coulomb in Toulon.

Flagship of French Admiral Pierre André de Suffren during the Anglo-French War (1778-1783).

Fought 6 battles in 27 months :

  • battle of Porto Praya (April 1781)
  • Battle of Sadras
  • Battle of Providien
  • 2nd battle of Negapatam
  • Battle of Trincomalee
  • 2nd battle of Cuddalore (June 1783)

Unable to capture her, the British burn her at the end of the siege of Toulon before leaving (Dec. 1793).

Plans (body plan, sheer and half breadth) :

Armament : 

  • Lower battery : 28 x 36-pdr
  • Upper battery : 30 x 18-pdr
  • Castles : 16 x 8-pdr

Dimensions (French Feet : 'pieds du Roi')

  • Length of gundeck : 168' 0''
  • Breadth : 43' 6 "
  • Depth in hold : 21'0''
  • Burthen : 1600 ton

Sources :

 

Any additional information or correction would be welcome.

 

large.jpg

large.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by LeBoiteux
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This decoration of stern is to the ship the Héros of 1750, built on the plans of J. Geoffroy. The drawing is by C.P. Caffiéri, dated 1753.

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21 minutes ago, Surcouf said:

This decoration of stern is to the ship the Héros of 1750, built on the plans of J. Geoffroy. The drawing is by C.P. Caffiéri, dated 1753.

Indeed. Thx ! I was surprised not to find any reference of the decoration of Le Héros (1778) in the catalogue. I did not verify concerning the older ship. My bad. 🙂

Decoration removed from OP.

(edit)

@Surcouf Added in OP pics of the stern of the ship model from the Greenwich Museum, to 'offset' my error.

French Naval sculpture after 1760 is not as good as the earlier one.

Edited by LeBoiteux

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She's got some pretty interesting features going on there, it might just be the model but those curves are quite unusual, plus her beakhead and bowsprit angle, the tumblehome and pretty much the entire structure over the waterline seems pretty curious.

Are those measurements in french feet? What are her metric values?

Nice post, do you have any more information, especially around her design?

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Original name: le Héros
Start build: 1778
Struck of French lists: 1793
Plans by J. M. B. Coulomb
Place of building: Toulon
Other names : none
 
Data:
Length x breadth x  depht in hold
168' x  43'6"x 21' (Pied du roi)
 
Artillery of origin:
1st deck - 2nd deck - F'c'sl/Q'deck
28x36-pdr - 30x18-pdr - 16x8-pdr
total: 74

image.jpeg

Edited by Surcouf
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11 minutes ago, Fluffy Fishy said:

She's got some pretty interesting features going on there, it might just be the model but those curves are quite unusual, plus her beakhead and bowsprit angle, the tumblehome and pretty much the entire structure over the waterline seems pretty curious.

The model in photo is a very naive representation.

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6 hours ago, Fluffy Fishy said:

Are those measurements in french feet? What are her metric values?

As Surcouf wrote, measurements in OP are in French feet (pieds du Roi). I added this information in OP. Here are the conversions from threedecks :

image.thumb.png.84f85dcd8edbbd8448e378c6a401b7d5.png

6 hours ago, Surcouf said:

The model in photo is a very naive representation.

The ship model is from the Greenwich Museum. This time, the British did not have time to study her and draw her plans. 🙂

The ship model is said to have been made in circa 1780-1790, to be a 'contemporary of the Héros".

Edited by LeBoiteux
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@Malachi @Surcouf @Wagram @Fluffy Fishy @Sella22 and anybody : what do we know about the decoration of Le Héros (stern, prow...) ? Are there a project drawing, a description or contemporary paintings available ?

Since 1777, it seems that the lion as a figurehead on French new warships has started to be a must, at the instigation of Sartine, but what about Le Héros ?

Do we know the decoration of other French 74-gun ship of that period ?

I guess a source about those decoration could be Boudriot's The 74-gun ship, Practical treaty of naval Art 1780, here.

Does Fichant's splendid shipmodel made from Boudriot's plans provide some good clues ? 

Also, at the Archives of Toulon :

image.thumb.png.429c315b2e859e4547b041c42ffb7e0f.png

Edited by LeBoiteux

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On 11/4/2018 at 5:27 PM, LeBoiteux said:

Since 1777, it seems that the lion as a figurehead on French new warships has started to be a must, at the instigation of Sartine, but what about Le Héros ?

In case I should come across the source of the picture I've posted above I will inform you, of course. As for the lion as a figurehead: Due to the poor quality of the reproduction of this painting, the figurehead is not clearly recognizable but, in my opinion, it's the body of a lion...

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6 hours ago, Wagram said:

In case I should come across the source of the picture I've posted above I will inform you, of course. As for the lion as a figurehead: Due to the poor quality of the reproduction of this painting, the figurehead is not clearly recognizable but, in my opinion, it's the body of a lion...

Can't it also be (with an arm raised) :

1199438407_LeHerosanon.jpg.46c84b5b5cab944194fc8e6449ed2c36.jpg.8017004d487ce2c808f36656460acd11.jpg

large-7.jpg.6f136af25cb8df9b4233eb5a5c60e648.jpg

Greenwich Museum Shipmodel

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It's definitely not a human but an animal leg, that much is for sure. I doubt that what you colorized red is actually part of the figurehead.

Edited by Wagram

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Mouais... Ben... pour l'instant, ce qu'on a de plus probant, c'est la figure de proue choisie par Boudriot pour illustrer son 74 canons des années 1780 (la déesse romaine de la guerre Bellone) et celle de la maquette contemporaine du Héros au Greenwich museum, deux figures humaines. Difficile de tirer quoi que ce soit du bidule bleu. 🙂

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Hey, that's French... :P

Sorry, but despite the poor quality of this blueish reproduction, the animal anatomy of the figurehead's body is clearly recognizable...

:D

Edited by Wagram

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8 hours ago, LeBoiteux said:

[..] Boudriot pour illustrer son 74 [...] (la déesse romaine de la guerre Bellone)

Boudriot said: "la figure de proue représente une Minerve casquée à l'antique".

The figurehead represents a helmeted Minerva in the antique. (Translat...)

Edited by Surcouf

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5 minutes ago, Surcouf said:

Boudriot said: "la figure de proue représente une Minerve casquée à l'antique".

The figurehead represents a helmeted Minerva in the antique. (Translat...)

In the English version, vol. 2, p. 26 : it is written : "The figure represents Bellona, wearing an ancient war-helmet, sword just unsheathed". Thus, it is a mistake or a liberty taken by the translator. Thx for the clarification for our english-spoken friends. 🙂

 

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On 11/6/2018 at 7:17 PM, Wagram said:

Due to the poor quality of the reproduction of this painting, the figurehead is not clearly recognizable but, in my opinion, it's the body of a lion...

To be compared with the figurehead of "Le Triomphant", 80 guns, launched in 1779 at Toulon, the flagship of admiral de Vaudreuil.

From here, p.4, n°. 23:

https://docplayer.fr/12539674-Antiquites-de-marine-sciences-voyage-file-d-site-rdv-galerie-tmp89xbj8s60m-htm.html

This portrait has been attributed to Joseph François Emeric. In my opinion, he may well have been the author of the portrait of "Le Héros" as well (equally launched at Toulon, in 1778).

 

Le Triomphant, F. J. Emeric, Detail-2 (Auktion Marine & Voyage, Jeudi 21 mars 2002, Marseille).jpeg

Edited by Wagram
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Built in Toulon :

Le Terrible (1780), 110 guns, by Coulomb (as Le Héros: a lion as a figurehead

Built in Brest :

L'Achille ex-Annibal (1779), 74 guns, by Sané : a human figure as figurehead

Le Pégase (1781), 74 guns : Pegasus... as a figurehead. See also here.

 

Shipyard preferences ? Some sculptors and shipbuilders following Sartine's will, some don't ?

Btw, Le Terrible, Le Triomphant or Le Héros (in a way) are not mythological figures (unlike Pegasus) or the name of a famous soldier (as (H)annibal Barca), but qualities. It may also explain the choice of a lion as figurehead for them.

Hard to say.

And the figure of Le Héros remains uncertain IMHO.

 

Edited by LeBoiteux

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@Wagram

Finally I saw the lion !!!

You meant that the blueish white spot was the lion, right ? Till now, I was looking for a dark shape... Now, I see the same white back leg as on Le Triomphant.

image.png.83cf70e3a7ea72fd5365469065b1ed15.png

image.png.10c2ae2f53cd2a12e7ce26c6f21b4439.png

Now last questions : are you sure that the 'blue Bidule' represents Le Héros and that it was painted from life (did the painter see the ship) ? 

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1 hour ago, LeBoiteux said:

@Wagram

Finally I saw the lion !!!

You meant that the blueish white spot was the lion, right ? Till now, I was looking for a dark shape... Now, I see the same white back leg as on Le Triomphant.

image.png.83cf70e3a7ea72fd5365469065b1ed15.png

image.png.10c2ae2f53cd2a12e7ce26c6f21b4439.png

Now last questions : are you sure that the 'blue Bidule' represents Le Héros and that it was painted from life (did the painter see the ship) ? 

"You meant that the blueish white spot was the lion, right ?"

Yes, that's what I meant. Thank you. :)

As for the 'blue Bidule': I'm really angry with myself because I failed to note down the source of this picture. That was in January 2011, and now I can't find the picture anymore. Blast! :angry: 

I am quite sure that the caption said it was "Le Héros", otherwise I would not have noted the name down. However, as the picture seems to have vanished from the net, I have no chance of verifying the said attribution. Consequently, I cannot be sure a 100% of the ship's identity and I can't say anything definite about the painter. Very vexing!

 

Edited by Wagram
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Hypothetical reconstitution of the decoration of Le Héros

Stern

$08.jpg

Source

From Boudriot's 74-gun ship and several plans of French 74-gun ships, such as those of L'Achille ex-Annibal (1779) or Le Pégase  (1781)

Figurehead : a Lion

image.png.10c2ae2f53cd2a12e7ce26c6f21b44

From several paintings of ships built by Coulomb at that time at Toulon like Le Héros, such as Le Terrible (1780, 110 guns) or Le Triomphant (80 guns, 1779, pic above) and from the probable representation of Le Héros here.

 

Thx to @Wagram

(Any correction or new information would be welcome)

Edited by LeBoiteux
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