Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
From an album of drawings by Gabriel Bray. No. 22 of 74. Titled and dated as above, and signed 'AV prGB' (to the life by Gabriel Bray) on a backing sheet, this shows a view of the fountain in front of the fortress at Tenerife, taken when the 'Pallas' called there en route for Africa, 6 - 18 January 1775. The discrepancy with Bray's inscribed date suggests he added it and the title later, from slightly inaccurate recollection. While Britain remained at peace with Spain, Santa Cruz (or alternately Funchal, Madeira, which was Portuguese) was a regular supply point - for water and fresh provisions - to vessels sailing south and west on the transatlantic trade winds. Given the intermittent wars in which Britain and Spain were opposed during the 18th century, the authorities did not like foreign artists sketching its defences. English views are therefore fairly rare. This is one of 73 drawings by Bray (plus one signed 'NF 1782') preserved in a 19th-century album that was purchased for the Museum by the Macpherson Fund of the Society for Nautical Research in April 1991. 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
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