Spithead, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
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From an album of drawings by Gabriel Bray. No. 33 of 74. A view taken en route to Africa in the 'Pallas', probably in the harbour at Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The men are using a launch, the largest boat ships normally carried, to recover a ship's bower or stream anchor - both large and heavy. Anchors were sometimes lost or slipped in a hurry in mooring areas, their position marked by the buoyed cable: when possible they were later retrieved for collection or sometimes even sent on to rejoin their ship. It is one of 73 drawings by Bray (plus one signed 'NF 1782') preserved in a 19th-century album. They have now been separately remounted. Bray (1750-1823), was second lieutenant of the 44-gun ‘Pallas’ under Captain the Hon. William Cornwallis (1744-1819) – later a well-known admiral - on two voyages (1774-77) to report on British interests in West Africa, including the slave trade. The dated drawings refer only to the first of these, from December 1774 to September 1775, though a few may be from the second. Others comprise country views, some of Deal, Kent (where Bray may have come from), and others of social-history interest.
Credit Line: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Purchased with the assistance of the Society for Nautical Research Macpherson Fund