The Sailor’s Return / Le Retour du Matelot
Coloured mezzotintpublished 16 April 1798
About the work
Place: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, 22-26 Whitehall
About the artist
Book illustrator and painter Thomas Stothard was born in London. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1777 and was elected a Royal Academician in 1794. He also became librarian to the Academy in 1812 and was active in Academy affairs. Although a respected history painter, Stothard was better financially rewarded for his illustrations and designs, which included banknotes, jasperware reliefs and silverwork. Stothard’s later life was marred by tragedy. In 1801, his eldest son was killed in a shooting accident. In 1821, another son died and in the following year a third suffered a stroke. His wife and his close friend, John Flaxman, both died in 1824. Finally, he died at the age of 79, after being hit by a carriage and left incapacitated.
William Ward was the son of James Ward, manager for a fruit and cider merchant. His younger brother, also named James Ward was a painter. Ward held the position of mezzotint engraver to the Duke of York from 1804 and engraver to the Prince of Wales from 1813. The following year he became an Associate Engraver of the Royal Academy. He died in 1826 at his home in Warren Street, London.