Lieutenant James Wilcox (d. 1811) by unknown

Lieutenant James Wilcox (d. 1811)


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Lieutenant James Wilcox (d. 1811) by unknown zoom

Lieutenant James Wilcox (d. 1811)

An oval miniature in watercolour on ivory, in an oval gilt suspension frame with a glazed back containing an interwoven plait of brown but greying hair, presumably the sitter's. He is shown bust-length turned to his right but looking out to the viewer. He has a short brown hair cut in Regency style, with sideburns, blue eyes, and wears the lieutenant's full-dress uniform of 1787-1812, with white waistcoat and shirt, with a broad black stock and /or neckcloth over the shirt collar. The background is a neutral hatched grey, slightly darker towards the bottom. A piece of paper, annotated in a 20th century hand, on the reverse identifies him and that he was lost in HMS 'Hero', 74 guns, at 'N. Haaks, Texel' on the coast of Holland on 24 December 1811, (in fact the 25th). Wilcox was commissioned lieutenant on 23 June 1806, apparently serving first in the 'Savage', sloop in 1806-1807. On 16 May 1809 he was appointed to the 'Hero', under Captain James Newman-Newman, who in late 1811 was charged with escorting a large convoy from Gothenberg to London. This had joined with parts of the British Baltic Fleet when it was struck by a huge storm which wrecked over 30 merchant ships and, on 24 December, claimed Admiral Reynolds's flagship 'St George' and the 'Defence'. Hundreds were drowned including Reynolds and on Christmas Day the 'Hero' was also driven ashore on the Haak Sands off the Texel, on the Dutch coast. Weather conditions prevented boats being launched or any rescue attempt and only twelve men survived. Wilcox and Newman-Newman, (of whom there is also a portrait in the collection, BHC2910) were among several hundred casualties.

  • Image reference: F9532-002

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