Sketch between decks, May 1775 on the 'Pallas'
This drawing was done on the 'Pallas's' transatlantic crossing from Africa to Barbados, 4 April - 31 May 1775. The scene is likely to be in the ship's cockpit - a lower-deck space, with little natural light, that was the home of midshipmen and master's mates. There they slept, ate and - as shown here - relaxed and studied by candlelight. One of their hanging cots, with a draw-string bag for personal items suspended at its head, can be seen in the top right corner, hanging parallel to the ship's side, as indicated by the positions of the hanging knee and deck beam, top centre. These were the living conditions that 'young gentlemen' first met when they went to sea as Nelson discovered only four years earlier, at the age of 13, though in a rather larger ship. It is likely that one or more of those shown are either the Hon. Thomas Pakenham, or Lord Charles Fitzgerald, two of the aristocratic protÃ”Ã²Ã¡â”¬Â«gÃ”Ã²Ã¡â”¬Â«s of the ship's captain, the Hon. William Cornwallis.
Gabriel Bray (1750-1823)
Original size: 114 mm x 175 mm
- Image reference: PT2026
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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