Captain Sir John Franklin, 1786 - 1847
Half-length watercolour portrait, bareheaded and facing the viewer against a low-toned clouded sky background. He is leaning slightly to his right on an unseen support, with his right elbow crooked and the hand just visible in front of his waist. He is wearing the 1827 captain's uniform with the blue three-point sleeve slash, white cuff and white in the collar. A pencil inscription on the sheet below the image reads 'Sir John Franklin / Drawn from Life by Wm Derby' and it is probably that done for an engraving by James Thompson, first published by Fisher in 1830 (PAD3554) and later reissued (e.g. PAD3555 dated 1840). It was presented to Greenwich Hospital for the Naval Gallery in the Painted Hall in 1865, by Henry Graves (probably the printseller and publisher, 1806-92). The Gallery then held the Franklin expedition relics recovered in the 1850s, including the document confirming Franklin's death in 1847.
The artist, Derby, was Franklin's exact contemporary (1786-47) and a well known watercolourist, miniaturist and oil portrait painter who exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1811 to 1837 and elsewhere. He did a great deal of portrait work for engraving.
Object number: PAD3548
Date: circa 1830
Dimensions: Mount 222 mm x 181 mm
- Image reference: S0332
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection
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