Captain William Allen (d.1696) by unknown

Captain William Allen (d.1696)


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Captain William Allen (d.1696) by unknown zoom

Captain William Allen (d.1696)

(William Allin). An oval miniature, executed in oil, in an oval gilded metal suspension frame engraved round the top front 'CAPTAIN WILLIAM ALLEN, ROYAL NAVY'. Little more than the sitter's head is shown, facing half to his left. He wears a long brown wig and a red robe or coat over a white shirt, and appears to have blue ribbon round his neck, possibly with something hung on it out of frame. Given the probable date of his dress and wig, the only Royal Naval officer this is likely to be is William Allin who became a captain on either 13 June or 1 July 1692, in the 'Tiger' . In 1694 he was in the 'Soldadoes Prize', 32 guns, and on 23 July, cruising off La Hogue, (near Cherbourg, Normandy), with the 'Hind', pink, he fought a spirited inshore action with a small French squadron consisting of 26-gun ship, three privateers and three merchantmen. One of the merchantmen escaped but Allin drove the other ships aground and burnt the remaining two merchant vessels under fire from the shore the next day. Unfortunately, the privateers and warship were quickly refloated and escaped by superior sailing. In 1696, now in the 48-gun 'Bonadventure', with the 'Seaford' (20 guns, Captain John Grange), Allin recovered York Fort and other settlements in Hudson's Bay from the French, as part of an expedition against French depredations on British settlements in Canada under Captain John Norris. On 24 October, however, while nearing home in the Channel approaches, he fell in with a French ship of 50 guns, (previously the English 'Mary Rose', captured in 1691). Allin gallantly attacked and fought her but was mortally wounded before the 'Bonadventure' had to leave off the engagement because she had received so much rigging damage, and the Frenchman escaped. The artist's identity is not known but oil is an unusual medium for miniatures, so he may have been a more general portraitist.

  • Image reference: F9501

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