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

'The Steward of the Pallas weighing a Piece of Beef, Decr 74' [Bray album]

Comments? Do please tell us: [email protected]

From the Collection


From an album of drawings by Gabriel Bray. No. 23 of 74. A drawing of a steward signed 'AVprGB' (to the life by Gabriel Bray), this was probably done at Portsmouth when the 'Pallas' was on the point of sailing for Africa in December 1774 or at least early in the voyage, since the meat appears to be fresh rather than salted. Ships did carry livestock, but probably delayed slaughtering it until well into the voyage. The steward may be purchasing the meat shown ashore or calculating roasting time before giving it to the galley for the officers' dinner. 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


Portsmouth, Hampshire, England