© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London | Licence: CC BY-NC-ND
© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London | Licence: CC BY-NC-ND

'A sailor centinel on the Pallas's gangway' [Bray album]

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From the Collection


From an album of drawings by Gabriel Bray. No. 27 of 74. Titled as above at the top of the drawing, and dated and signed at the bottom 'Decr 74 AVprGB' (to the life by Gabriel Bray). The date and signature are a repetition, since Bray himself clearly trimmed this drawing at an early stage, originally signing it 'GB' on the wooden bar towards the bottom and cutting off the date which originally followed the title. The drawing was probably made at Portsmouth before the 'Pallas' sailed for Africa, or possibly at Tenerife. The man carries what is probably a sea-service musket and wears a great-coat - probably also one issued to him rather than his own.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.

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© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

From the Watercolour World


Portsmouth, Hampshire, England