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Captain Teach commonly call'd Black Beard


Object connections:

User collections Stories from the sea by rboley
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleDepiction: Teach, Captain Edward
EventsDeath of Edward Teach, 1718
VesselsLa Concorde (1711)

Object details:

Object ID PAD2732
Description Numbered 'Page 203' top right, this is a detached example of the plate constituting that page in the folio edition of Charles Johnson's 'A General History of the Lives and Adventures of the Most Famous Highwaymen, Murderers, Street-Robbers, etc, to which is added, a genuine account of the voyages and plunders of the most notorious pyrates', first issued in 1734 though several reprints followed. This was the enlarged version of his 'General History of the Pyrates' which had itself first appeared in London on 14 May 1724, with a second edition later that year, a third in 1725, and a fourth, with additional lives and an appendix, in 1726. These, however, were small-format octavo volumes with very different illustrations, though one of Blackbeard wearing different dress and brandishing a scimitar was one of those included, and a variant of it also appeared in an early Dutch edition of the book. All these images - of which this is the best known - comprise the only near-contemporary portraits of Blackbeard (Edward Teach - or Thatch - possibly originally Edward Drummond) albeit based on reports of his appearance, not from life. Teach had been killed on 22 November 1718 in Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina, in a skirmish with a force sent against him by Alexander Spotswood, Governor of Virginia, under the command of Lieutenant Robert Maynard RN. A very brief and matter-or-fact note of the engagement and his death appears in a lieutenant's log of the 'Pearl', 42 guns, (NMM ADM/L/P/32) which was the ship from which Maynard had been detached for the raid. Blackbeard was himself reportedly killed by a Scottish seaman called Evander Mackevoy (a tailor by trade) in a hand to hand-to-hand cutlass fight that left Mackevoy with two large head scars as souvenirs. His age at death is unknown but his earliest associations are thought to have been in Bristol, and it is likely he was born in the late 1670s or 1680s given that he is first recorded as part of the crew of the pirate Benjamin Horngold in 1716. Mackevoy himself died in the near-equally celebrated loss of the slaver 'Luxborough Galley' in 1727, when her homeward-bound cargo of Caribbean sugar products caught fire in the north Atlantic (see BHC2389)
Date made 1734

Artist/Maker Nicholls, Thomas
Elder, James Basire the
Nicholls, Thomas
Basire, Isaac
Nicholls, Joseph
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials etching and engraving
Measurements Mount: 309 mm x 203 mm
  • Captain Teach commonly call'd Black Beard (PAD2732)
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