In this three-quarter length portrait the sitter wears a vice-admiral’s full dress uniform, with the star and ribbon of the KB as well as the medals for the First of June, 1794, and San Domingo, 1806. His sword rests in the crook of his left arm and he points to the left with his right hand. In 1759, at the early age of 11, he was present at Admiral Boscawen’s destruction of the French squadron at Lagos, and later in the year was at the battle of Quiberon Bay. He was a lieutenant in Admiral Byron’s flagship during his action off Grenada in 1779 and was promoted to commander immediately afterwards.
As captain of the ‘Orion’ at Lord Howe’s victory on the First of June he received the gold medal which is very prominent in the portrait. At San Domingo he destroyed or captured a French squadron of five ships of the line including the ‘Imperial’ (120-guns), one of the most powerful warships of the period. In the following year he took a squadron to Constantinople but failed to reach agreement with the Ottoman rulers. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief in Newfoundland from 1810–1813. There are several versions of the portrait and this has generally been thought to be a signed replica of about 1809–1810. It appeared as a print from 1806 and in 1837 as a stipple engraving for Captain Edwards Brenton’s ‘Naval History of Great Britain, 1783–1836’.
Where to see this painting?
National Maritime Museum
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