A half-length portrait of Keith, facing to the left, and standing on the deck of his ship ‘Monarch’. A view of Cape Town and Table Bay can be seen in the left background. He is wearing a vice-admiral’s undress uniform, although the roll collar has been incorrectly painted, together with the star and riband of a KB. He first saw service in the Seven Years War and served almost continuously until the end of the American War of Independence. His most notable action during this time was the capture of the Dutch gun ship ‘Rotterdam’, when he was in command of the ‘Warwick’. In 1793 he was in charge of the land force that captured Fort La Malgu during Admiral Hood’s taking of Toulon. The portrait commemorates his command of the expedition which captured the Cape of Good Hope from the Dutch in 1795. In 1797 he was second-in-command to St Vincent and shortly after the battle of the Nile went as senior officer in the Mediterranean. In 1812 he became Commander-in-Chief of the widely dispersed Channel fleet which he supervised largely from ashore. His careful placing of the frigates prevented the escape of Napoleon after Waterloo, and when Napoleon surrendered Keith acted as an intermediary for the Government in arranging for his removal.
Where to see this painting?
National Maritime Museum
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