The Defence of Gibraltar in the Afternoon of 13 September 1782
Engravingpublished 1 March 1787
About the work
Place: Ministry of Defence, Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich
About the artist
Richard Paton, marine painter, was born in London and is said to have been discovered on Tower Hill as a poor boy by Admiral Sir Charles Knowles. Knowles took him to sea, after which he found employment in the Excise Office, where he was still working at the time of his death. The earliest evidence of Paton painting is the exhibition of two works by him at the Society of Artists in 1762. He continued to exhibit with the Society for several years, before resigning in 1771. Five years later, Paton began to exhibit at the Royal Academy, where he showed his work until 1780. In 1776, he was granted permission by King George III to paint the Royal Dockyards at Chatham and Deptford and the resulting paintings are now in the Royal Collection.
London-born engraver James Fittler exhibited two sketches at the Free Society of Artists, aged 17. He studied engraving at the Royal Academy Schools from 21 and exhibited there between 1788 and 1824, becoming an associate in 1800. He was later appointed marine engraver to George III. He contributed to Boydell’s ‘Shakespeare Gallery’ and co-published ‘Views of Weymouth’ (1790-91) and (with Robert Bowyer) an illustrated bible (1795), losing some £1500 in the later venture. He published engravings for John Claude Nattes's ‘Scotia Depicta’ (1804) and made reproductions of Raphael's ‘Cartoons’ (1810). His last published works illustrated Thomas Frognall Dibdin's ‘Account of the Mansion, Books, and Pictures, at Althorp’ (1822). He died aged 77.