View of St Eustatius with the 'Boreas' (1784)
The first in a series of ten drawings (PAF5871- 5874, PAF5876, PAF5880-5881 and PAF5883-5885) of mainly lesser-known incidents in Nelson's career, apparently intended for a set of engravings. Pocock's own numbered description of the subject in a letter of 2 June 1810 (see below) is: '1. View of St Eustatius with the "Boreas" [left] in Company with the French Frigate', though the related correspondence shows he also made a near duplicate 'of the Whole Island of St Eustatius with the "Boreas" and her French Companion' and it might be that version: 'Boreas' was the frigate Nelson commanded at the close of his West Indies service, ending in 1785. The prints intended do not seem to have been made and we do not know who commissioned the drawings, which were originally just eight plus two near 'duplicates' for choice and return. The Museum holds three letters to him by Pocock, however, of which the second, of 29 June 1810, shows that all these were finished by that date and that the price for the eight the purchaser was to retain was five guineas each. On 9 July, following a request from his correspondent, Pocock sent him two more subjects with a covering letter, bringing the total of different images up to ten: these last two were of 'Agamemnon' engaging the 'Ca Ira' (PAF5872) and the 'Curieux' leaving Antigua (PAF5884). All ten (excluding the duplicates) with three other views and the three autograph letters by Pocock (all now in NMM AGC22/4), were bought for the Museum as lot 213 in a sale at Sotheby's on 29 April1935. By that time the drawings had all been over-exposed to light from previous display, the blues having faded except where masked by mounts at the edges. Their present pink/brown tones are what is left and not their original appearance. The text of the letters can be found, with discussion of the set, in David Cordingly's 'Nicholas Pocock, 1740-1821' (1986), pp. 88-93. Cordingly also cites circumstantial evidence that the prints for which the drawings may have been intended were a series advertised but not published by Cadell & Davies. This drawing is signed and dated by the artist, lower right.
Original size: 175 mm x 254 mm
- Image reference: PW5871
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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