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Visit of George III to Howe's Flagship, the 'Queen Charlotte', on 26 June 1794

Oil paintings

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Object ID BHC0476
Description Lord Howe is shown on the quarter-deck of the 'Queen Charlotte', receiving a diamond sword from King George III. The King stands in the centre of the deck, with Queen Charlotte to the left, wearing a yellow silk dress with a red petticoat, together with other members of the Royal Family. He also presented a gold chain to Admiral Sir Alexander Hood, Rear-Admiral Gardner and Captain of the Fleet Sir Roger Curtis, who was also Lord Howe's First Captain. Behind Howe stands the third-in-command, Hood, with his hand on his sword. To the right of Hood stands Sir Roger Curtis and Rear-Admiral Gardner, who were both created baronets. The Prime Minister, Pitt, stands on the extreme left, under the royal coat of arms. This ceremony took place after the Battle of the Glorious First of June 1794, which was the first great naval engagement of the French Revolutionary War. This battle was fought between the French and the British in the Atlantic, about 430 miles west of the Breton island of Ushant, and arose out of an attempt by the British fleet under Howe to intercept a French grain convoy from the United States. Although the convoy escaped the ensuing battle was technically a British victory. Painted over 30 years after the event this interpretation is an imaginary construction incorporating a collection of recognizable portraits, many of people by then long dead. The women wear a variety of fashions in bright colours and the artist has placed an emphasis on reds and yellows. It is one of four naval subjects for which the British Institution paid £500 each, to encourage British historical painting, all exhibited there before their presentation to the Naval Gallery at Greenwich Hospital. Briggs, a fashionable portraitist at the time, also included people he knew as models in this picture. The small boy in red, top left, is Frederick Locker (later Locker-Lampson and known as a poet), who mentioned sitting to him for this in his own memoirs. Based on the grouping and likeness (see BHC3165) the man in brown to his right, leaning over the rail, is his father Edward Hawke Locker, senior Commissioner of the Hospital, and the key figure in founding the Naval Gallery for which this work was painted. It is also very likely that his mother is the woman shown full-face immediately behind.
Date made 1828

Artist/Maker Briggs, Henry Perronet
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Painting: 1625 mm x 2555 mm; Frame: 1940 mm x 2530 mm x 100 mm; Overall: 108 kg
  • Visit of George III to Howe's Flagship, the 'Queen Charlotte', on 26 June 1794 (BHC0476)
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