Catalogue of the Constable Collection, Graham Reynolds, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1973, pp. 56-57.
The following is an extract from the full text of the entry:
The drawing was exhibited with this title as No. 787 in the Royal Academy, 1806. Leslie (L. ed. S., p. 25) says "This subject was suggested to him by hearing an account of the battle from a Suffolk man, who had been on Nelson's ship". Farington (Greig, Vol. III, p. 181) noted on 10 April 1806 "Constable called. He had sent a picture of Ld. Nelson's engagement to the Exhibition". In making the drawing Constable made use of the group of sketches of men-of-war etc. he had made in the Medway in 1803, of which Nos 41-50 form part. A broadside view of H. M. S. Victory dated 18 April 1803, and from the collection of Capt. C. Constable is reproduced in Laird Clowes's The Royal Navy, a history, Vol. V. p. 25. It is one of the series of drawings described in the note on Nos. 41-50. That No. 65 is much faded is evident from a band of darker pigment, at the top and right; but it is probable that it was always low in tone and reflected the influence if Girtin, as do the Lake District sketches of this year.
This was the last attempt Constable made to paint a sea-battle. On 2 July 1824, he noted in his diary "There comes a letter from the Gallery [the British Institution], to offer prizes for the best sketches and pictures of the Battles of the Nile and Trafalgar; it does not concern me much" (L. ed. S., p. 168).
Watercolour, 'His Majesty's ship "Victory", Capt. E. Harvey, in the memorable battle of Trafalgar, between two French ships of the line' by Constable.
Height: 51.8 cm, Width: 73.3 cm
John Constable, selected by Lucian Freud (Grand Palais 10/10/2002-13/01/2003)
Prints & Drawings Study Room, room WS
'Constable's only exhibit at the Royal Academy in 1806 was No. 65 [169-1888]. In June he was at East Bergholt, as is attested by Nos. 66 and 67 [224-1888 and 346-1888]. In the autumn he paid a visit of some two months to the Lake District and made many drawings, among them Nos. 72-94 [794-1888, 348-1888, 192-1888, 812-1888, 170-1888, 185-1888, 188-1888, 184-1888, 187-1888, 178-1888, 179-1888, 177-1888, 193-1888, 183-1888, 1256-1888, 596-1888, 181-1888, 182-1888, 1257-1888, 811-1888, 349-1888].
G Reynolds, 1973, p. 56