Nicholas Pocock (1740-1821)
Portrait of Nicholas Pocock, amateur and part-time Bristol artist and sea captain to 1789, mainly for the Champion family of merchants and shipowners, and subsequently full-time London-based marine painter until he retired for health reasosns (apparently a stroke) in 1817. Following the death of Dominic Serres in 1793, he was the leading marine painter of his time - at least as far as the professional naval and mercantile seafaring elite was concerned. The original 30 x 25 inch oil portrait (private collection, see Notebook field) was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1811. The engraving plate is also in the NMM collection (ZBA4465, ex-coll. Patrick Bryan of Cheltenham, a Pocock descendant). The artist (1782 -1835) was the sitter's eldest surviving son and a pupil of Romney and Beechey. Though fairly successful as a historical and portrait painter, he gave up professional painting in 1818 on inheriting Ray Lodge, Maidenhead, and the related estate of his uncle, Sir Isaac Pocock (1751-1810): he is also now better remembered as a popular but ephemeral playwright, a field in which he engaged prolifically from 1808 to his death. Sir Isaac, Nicholas's younger brother, was also a Bristol sea captain for the Champions but then married well (though childlessly) and became a country gentleman, originally at Biggin, Northamptonshire: he was knighted as High Sheriff of that county in 1786. Nicholas, Sir Isaac and Isaac all died at Maidenhead and, with others of the family, are buried in a family vault in Cookham church, Berks, and have monuments there. Sir Isaac's is a dramatic high-relief sculptural tablet by Flaxman showing him and his wife at the moment of his death, while boating on the Thames, for which London University holds the modello. The design of Nicholas's plainer wall monument strongly suggests the influence, if not the hand, of Sir John Soane. (illustrated in D. Cordingly, 'Nicholas Pocock', 1986, p.103).
Isaac Pocock (artist)
Original size: 247 mm x 181 mm
- Image reference: PU3321
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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