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Captain Richard Grindall (1750-1820) and his family

ZBA5116

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Collection
User collections Britain and the Sea audio tour by Joanna
Gallery locationQH (Floor plans)

Object details:

Object ID ZBA5116
Description A conversation piece of a prominent naval officer and his family in a domestic interior. Captain Richard Grindall stands in a naval uniform accompanied by his wife and four male children. A painting of a naval action hangs on the wall in the centre of the room and a portfolio of maritime prints is open on a desk to the right. The painting is signed, indistinctly, on the portfolio: 'R Livesay'. Grindall, having presumably been in the merchant service, entered the Navy as an able seaman, aged 21, on 7 January 1772. He joined the ‘Resolution’ on James Cook’s second voyage, 1772–75, berthing with the midshipmen. He was finally promoted lieutenant on 29 November 1776 and saw action in the ‘Barfleur’ off Martinique. He was promoted captain on 13 March 1783, commanding the sloop ‘St Vincent’. During the French Revolutionary War, he commanded the frigate ‘Thalia’ and the 74-gun ‘Irresistible’, being involved in the Battle of Groix in June 1795. The rest of the war was spent on blockade and convoy duty in a series of commands in ships of the line. The return of war in 1803 saw Grindall in command of the huge 98-gun ‘Prince’, a slow and ungainly ship with a justified reputation for ‘sailing like a haystack’. He was in Collingwood’s division at Trafalgar but the ‘Prince’ was overtaken by the rest of the line as it joined battle with the French and Spanish fleet. By the time Grindall reached the action, the fighting was all but over, leaving little for the ‘Prince’ to contribute to the British victory. The ship proved invaluable after the battle, rescuing sailors, towing damaged vessels and providing stores. Grindall was promoted rear-admiral of the blue in the post-Trafalgar promotions of 9 November 1805, taking a shore position and retiring in 1810 after advancing to vice-admiral of the blue on 31 July that year. In 1815 he was knighted (KCB) in the post-war re-institution of the Order of the Bath. Two of Grindall’s sons died of illness while in naval service. Edmund, the youngest son (here shown holding his mother’s hand), died as a midshipman, aged 20, on 21 September 1811; Festing Horatio, the third son probably standing to his father's left, died as a lieutenant on 23 May 1812, aged 25. Grindall himself died at Wickham in Hampshire on 23 May 1820 and his wife Katherine on 6 February 1831, aged 72. There is a memorial to them in St Nicholas’s Church, Wickham. The artist, Richard Livesay, exhibited 69 paintings at the Royal Academy between 1776 and 1821; this group portrait was exhibited in 1800 (no. 46). Between 1777 and 1785 he lodged with William Hogarth’s widow while working in London and producing facsimiles of the late artist’s work. Later, he was a pupil of Benjamin West, copying pictures at Windsor Castle and acting as a drawing instructor for some of the royal children. From 1796 until 1811 he was drawing master at the Royal Naval Academy (later College) in Portsmouth.
Date made circa 1800

Artist/Maker Livesay, Richard
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials canvas; oil paint
Measurements Painting: 1017 mm x 1287 mm x 25 mm; Frame: 1230 mm x 1492 mm x 120 mm
Parts
  • Captain Richard Grindall (1750-1820) and his family (ZBA5116)
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