This oil on canvas (55.3 by 86.4 cm) by Thomas Luny sold in Bonham's Marine Sale on 14 September 2004 for £33,460, captioned 'A First Rater, believed to be Nelson's flagship H.M.S. 'Victory' at anchor in Tor Bay, saluting the arrival of the frigate H.M.S. 'Anson' signed 'Luny' and dated 1807 (lower left).' Thomas Luny (British, 1759-1837), born in Cornwall, was a prolific marine artist who was commissioned by the East India Company among others to paint ships and from 1807 was based in Teignmouth in Devon. That fact of his place of residence, and the date of the painting - the year in which Anson was wrecked, off Loe Bar in Cornwall on 29 December - suggest that this painting may well have been of a scene that he witnessed, with Torbay being just south of Teignmouth.
Moreover, with Luny being a highly regarded marine artist, employed by the EIC and others knowledgeable about ships, there is every reason for believing that he would have tried to be as accurate as he could be in the portrayal of individual named vessels and not just painted a generic type. If the caption is accurate, this could therefore be the best image to survive of Anson, painted only a short time before she was wrecked. Anson was a ‘razéed’ ship of the line, originally of 64 guns but converted to a 44-gun frigate by the removal of the upper deck and armament, creating vessels of a distinct appearance as shown in this depiction with a restructured quarterdeck and forecastle formed from the original upper deck. This depiction also accurately shows the main deck armament of 26 guns (24-pounders), 13 to a side. A detailed account of Anson’s history can be found here.
At the time of this image Anson would recently have returned with despatches from Curaçao in the Dutch West Indies, captured on 1 January 1807. Several depictions of her in the attacking squadron (with Arethusa and Latona) exist, but none show the ship in as much detail as Luny’s painting. This image has particular resonance for me as within the last week I've stood on the deck of Victory and snorkelled over the wreck of Anson!