Portrait of Admiral Sir Richard Vesey Hamilton (1829-1912) by 20th Century British School

Portrait of Admiral Sir Richard Vesey Hamilton (1829-1912)

20th Century British School

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Portrait of Admiral Sir Richard Vesey Hamilton (1829-1912)


A three-quarter-length portrait to the left showing Hamilton in his admiral's full dress uniform, 1879-91, holding his hat in his right hand and wearing the ribbon and star of the GCB and Baltic, Arctic and Crimean War medals.
Richard Vesey Hamilton entered the Navy aged 14, in the ‘Virago’ in the Mediterranean, where he served for most of his time as midshipman. He joined the Franklin search expedition of 1850-51 as mate of ‘Assistance’ Captain Erasmus Ommaney and was promoted to lieutenant 11 October 1851. He returned to the Arctic in ‘Resolute’ in 1852 under Captain Kellett. During the next three winters Hamilton acted as prompter and stage manager of the Royal Arctic Theatre. He also undertook several lengthy sledge journeys.
He then served as first lieutenant of the paddle sloop ‘Desperate’ in the Baltic. The next year, he was appointed to the gunboat ‘Haughty’ which he took out to China and took a notable part in the action in Fatshan Creek.  From 1859 he served for nine years on the North American station. From 1870-73 he commanded the coastguard ship at Portland, the steam reserve at Devonport (1873-75) and was captain-superintendent of Pembroke Dockyard from 1875 to 1877. He was promoted rear-admiral 27 September 1877. Between 1880 and1883 he commanded on the coast of Ireland, and after promotion to vice-admiral on 17 February 1884, was commander-in-chief in China from 1885 to 1887. He reached the rank of admiral 18 October 1887. The following year was spent in committee work and in 1889 he joined the Admiralty as Second Sea Lord, succeeding Sir Arthur Hood as First Sea Lord a few months later.  Between 1891 and his retirement in 1894, he served as president of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.
Object Number: BHC2379

  • Image reference: BHC2739

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