A three-quarter-length to left portrait of Saxton wearing a blue coat with silver edging, and breeches. His left hand is on an anchor fluke, while his right rests on a dress sword. He wears his own white hair. Saxton joined the Navy in 1745 and was promoted to lieutenant on the East Indies station by Rear-Admiral Watson in 1757. A captain in 1762, he commanded the 'Magnanime', 74 guns, in home waters until the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763. In the following year he was given command of the 'Pearl', 40 guns, and was sent to the Gulf of St Lawrence. In 1778, in the American War, he commanded the 'Invincible', 74 guns, and went with Hood to the West Indies to reinforce Rodney. He was thus present at the action off St Kitts in January 1782 but missed the Battle of the Saints in April the same year, since the 'Invicible' had already been despatched to Jamaica. In 1789 he was appointed the resident Commissioner at Portsmouth dockyard, and was created a baronet by George III when the King visited Portsmouth in 1794. He is believed to be wearing his commissioner's uniform in the portrait, which has incorporated the main gates of Portsmouth dockyard in the left background with the royal standard on a staff, commemorating the King's visit. The artist was a pupil and assistant of Reynolds and practised portraiture at Plymouth until 1777, when he went to Italy to study before settling in London in 1781.
Where to see this painting?
National Maritime Museum
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