Spithead, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
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From an album of drawings by Gabriel Bray. No. 29 of 74. Titled and dated as above and signed 'AVprGB' (to the life by Gabriel Bray) on the backing paper, this probably shows a midshipman, apparently dozing in a slightly precarious position on the ship's taffrail. Her stern lantern and red ensign are seen behind (the latter, then senior naval ensign and the general British merchant flag, being the one flown by warships on independent commission). 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