Fine art, Oil paintings, Maritime Art Greenwich

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The United Service (Painting)

BHC1159
Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Oil paintings, Maritime Art Greenwich
User collections Re┬ĚThink Migration by marre986
Britain and the Sea audio tour by Joanna
Gallery locationQH (Floor plans)
PeopleDepiction: Denman, John
Depiction: George Copestick
Depiction: William Crook
Depiction: Mathews, William
Depiction: Shaw, J. I.
Depiction: Perry, Edward
Depiction: Jacobs, Henry
Depiction: Moser, Peter
Depiction: Ogilvie, Daniel
Depiction: Holland, Thomas
Depiction: Lovell, John, 19C [Greenwich Pen
Depiction: Burgen, Joseph
VesselsChelsea pensioners

Object details:

Object ID BHC1159
Description There is a more detailed description of this painting contained within the 'Notebook' field within the 'Mail' icon. This description is so the names of those shown in the picture are MIMSY-searchable. The painting shows army pensioners from Chelsea Hospital and Greenwich Pensioners looking at George Arnald's picture of the Battle of the Nile (BHC0509) in the Naval Gallery in the Painted Hall of Greenwich Hospital. The principal group of men in the foreground consists of recognizable portraits, identifiable by an index on the frame. Nine of the Greenwich men had once served with Nelson and the picture was, perhaps deliberately, painted in the 40th anniversary year of the Battle of Trafalgar. On the far left, George Copestick, a soldier in the 2nd Life Guards, wears a red jacket and leans with his right hand on the brass rail protecting the pictures. With his left hand cupped to his ear, he looks at Arnald's painting, his gesture implying that he is recalling the sensations of battle and attempting to hear the story being told behind him. Next to him is William Crook, Regulating Boatswain, who served in the 'Agamemnon', 64 guns, at the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801. Wearing a blue jacket and breeches, he leans on a stick with both hands, and confronts the gaze of the viewer. Standing behind and to the right, and visible only by his head, is William Mathews, another Boatswain, who was at Tenerife with nelson in 1797, at the Battle of the Nile in 1798, and in the 'Victory', 100 guns, at Trafalgar in 1805. Next to him is J. I. Shaw, Boatswain, who also served in the 'Agamemnon' at the Battles of Cape St Vincent, 1797, and at Trafalgar in 1805. He is talking to the group of figures immediately to the right and he gestures with his arms to indicate that he is engaged in a narrative of the battles depicted in the paintings. Immediately beside him can be seen the head of Edward Perry, who served in the 40th Regiment in Holland, Egypt and Malta. In front of Perry stands Henry Jacobs, the central figure of the group. He was a sergeant in the 52nd Regiment at Ferrol, Copenhagen, Walcheren, the storming of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz, and at Waterloo. He stands with his hands behind his back, looking directly at the painting, while a small girl holding a posy of flowers in her left hand touches his sleeve, directing her gaze beyond Arnald's picture to another one out of the viewer's sight. Jacobs, absorbed by both Shaw's narrative and preoccupied with his own personal reminiscences, seems unaware of the girl's presence. The next figure standing behind Jacobs and with his back to him is Peter Moser (alias Peter Reynolds), Boatswain, who served in the 'Victory' at Trafalgar. His naval war medal hangs on a ribbon round his neck and he leans on a stick. The head and shoulders of Daniel Ogilvie, who served at the Battle of Trafalgar, are visible behind and to the right. Next to him stands Thomas Holland, clasping his hands in front of him, wearing a two-clasp naval war medal. He served on the 'Lively' at the Battle of Cape St Vincent and on the 'Alexander' at the Battle of the Nile. To the right, John Lovell stands with his right hand tucked into his jacket. He served on the 'Agamemnon' with Nelson and at the Battle of Cape St Vincent, and was in the barge with him at Tenerife, where he tore strips from his own shirt to bind up Nelson's shattered arm. He was also at the Battle of the Nile. Next to him, and wearing a red hat, is the veteran black sailor John Deman (c.1774-1847), who served with Nelson in the West Indies. He is leaning on the chair of Joseph Burgin who is depicted seated in the foreground facing the paintings. He served on 'Vanguard' at the Battle of the Nile, and was the only Greenwich Hospital in-pensioner to lose a limb at Trafalgar.
Date made 1845

Artist/Maker Morton, Andrew
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Painting: 1168.4 x 1473.2 mm; Frame: 1468 mm x 1765 mm x 134 mm; Overall: 48 kg
Parts
  • The United Service (Painting) (BHC1159)
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