British Man-o-War with Convoy at St. Pierre
About the work
While employed by Richard Champion, a Bristol merchant who traded with the West Indies and America, artist Nicholas Pocock captained the several ships on which he made no less than 12 voyages. Six of his voyages, made in the ‘Minerva’ between 1771 and 1776, were to the West Indian islands of Nevis, St. Kitts and Dominica, the latter of which neighbours Martinique. This watercolour was painted many years after Pocock’s travels in the West Indies, worked up from a sketch made from the deck of the ‘Minerva’.
Six logbooks from Pocock’s voyages to the West Indies have survived, each illustrated with pen and wash drawings of ships, coastal profiles and harbours. Four of these are now in the National Maritime Museum, London. Others are at Bristol Record Office and the Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Virginia.
While most of this watercolour is delicately and sensitively painted, some areas, in particular the Red Ensigns, are more clumsily coloured. One clear indication that this is the work of a later restorer attempting to revive the faded colours, is that the Union Jack within the Red Ensign of the large gun-ship includes the red saltire (X-shaped cross) of Ireland, despite the work dating from before the 1800 Act of Union.
About the artist
Nicholas Pocock was born in Bristol; the son of a merchant. He went to sea at a young age and commanded ships belonging to Richard Champion, the first producer of Bristol porcelain. In 1780 he sent a picture to the Royal Academy too late to be included in the exhibition. Two years later, two landscapes and two marine paintings by Pocock were accepted by the Academy and thereafter he exhibited there every year until 1812. In 1789 Pocock moved to London, where he quickly won popularity with naval clients, recording their actions at sea. He briefly returned to sea with the Fleet in 1794. From then, Pocock found employment recording actions of the French Wars. He also produced six paintings illustrating ‘The Life of Nelson’ (published in 1809).
- British Man-o-War with Convoy at St. Pierre
- Watercolour on paper
- height: 44.00 cm, width: 97.50 cm
- Purchased from Sir Bruce Ingram, May 1952
- GAC number