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

'A shop on [the] Point at Portsmouth, Novr: 74' [Bray album]

Comments? Do please tell us: [email protected]

From the Collection


From an album of drawings by Gabriel Bray. No. 39 of 74. Titled and dated as above and signed 'AVprGB' (to the life by Gabriel Bray) at the top, and also initialled 'GB' in the top right corner of the drawing itself. This is a wonderfully well observed record of a greengrocer's shop on old Portsmouth Point, drawn while the 'Pallas' was fitting out to sail for Africa in December 1774. The neatly dressed female proprietor sits 'at the receipt of custom' inside the door. Autumn fruit is stacked in baskets outside an open casement window to the left, with baskets of vegetables on a bench below. Others lie to the right on a smaller bench below a bay display window. While the fruit is not specifically identifiable (though probably all local) the vegetables appear to be cabbages, possibly lettuce, spring onions, leeks and carrots. The shop also sells tobacco, since bundles of clay pipes lie on the top shelf in the window to the right. This 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.

Image Licence

Image Credit

© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

From the Watercolour World


The Point, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England