Fine art, Oil paintings, Maritime Art Greenwich

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Captain Henry Osborn, 1694-1771

Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Oil paintings, Maritime Art Greenwich
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleDepiction: Osborn, Henry

Object details:

Object ID BHC2925
Description A half-length portrait slightly to right in a blue coat edged with gold lace, and with a gold-laced mariner's cuffs and a red waistcoat, also laced, and a grey tie-wig. Osborn's right hand rests on a box compass, while his left hand lacks cuffs and appears unfinished as does the background of sea, which has no shipping. The portrait was probably painted on board his ship 'Princess Caroline', 80 guns, in Hyères Bay, when the fleet was blockading Toulon. At the ensuing but indecisive Battle of Toulon in 1744, Osborn commanded the 'Princess Caroline' in the main division, and nobly supported Captain William Rowley. The fact that the fleet left after the action probably explains why Arnulphy was unable to finish this picture. In 1758, commqnding a squadron blockading Cartagena, he intercepted the French 80-gun 'Foudroyant' and the 'Oriflamme' , 50, dispatching ships in pursuit which captured the former and destroyed the latter. Shortly afterwards he suffered a stroke which foced him to give up command, though he rose to become Admiral of the White and was appointed Vice-Admiral of England in 1763. John Charnock's 'Biographia Navalis' (1797) gives an unflattering portrait of Osborn as a rather dour character, not supported by other sources. He was perhaps idiosyncratic but reliable, humane, liked by his followers and described by Augustus Hervey as a 'worthy good man'. The French-born artist worked exclusively as a portrait painter and spent most of his working life in Provence. This is one of a group of portraits he painted of English naval officers while Mathews' fleet was blockading Toulon.
Date made 1743-1744

Artist/Maker Arnulphy, Claude
Place made France
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Caldwell Collection
Materials oil on canvas, frame
Measurements Frame: 1166 mm x 936 mm x 70 mm;Painting: 915 x 710 mm
  • Captain Henry Osborn, 1694-1771 (BHC2925)
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