Jean Bart was a French corsair, perhaps one of the most important sailors that France has ever had. He was born in Dunkerque on the 21st October 1650 and died there in 1702, broken by pleurisy, after having spent an indomitable life on the seas in the defence of French interests. His career as a sailor started at the age of twelve when he joined the Dutch fleet as a ship-boy.
When, in 1672, war broke out between Holland and France, he went back to his hometown and he signed up, as a mate or as a captain, on board ships belonging to owners who were privateering against the Dutch vessels. During the six-year war against Holland, Bart captured twenty enemy ships. His fame reached Louis XIV’s court, and the King personally awarded him a gold chain and nominated him sub-lieutenant of the Royal Navy. Bart distinguished himself not only in the North Sea and in the English Channel, but also as a lieutenant commander in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Antilles during the war between France and Spain in 1863.
Between 1686 and 1697 as a commander of the navy squadron formed by the Railleuse and the Serpent, he defeated the English and the Dutch fleets during the war that France conducted against the European Confederation (War of the Augusta League). He was promoted to the rank of sea-captain after having been captured by the English forces and managing to escape. Louis XIV in person tasked him with the duty of protecting the French convoys that, during a period of famine, transported supplies from Scandinavia. Thanks to his enterprises Jean Bart styled himself with patent letters of nobility issued to him directly by the King. In 1696 he had been promoted to the rank of squadron admiral, but due to his death he could not complete the construction of the “Fondant”, the vessel on which he wanted to hoist his admiral’s flag.
The figurine has been taken from a painting of the famous Jean Leon Jerome. Ample painting description is available by visiting the web sites. The costumes are obviously typical of the XVII century.
Historical research and translation: R.Carrabino