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Captain Maurice Suckling, 1725-1778

Oil paintings

Object connections:

Collection Oil paintings, Fine art
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleDepiction: Suckling, Maurice

Object details:

Object ID BHC3045
Description Suckling was second son of the rector of Barsham, Suffolk , his mother Ann (Turner) being niece of Robert Walpole, first Earl of Orford. His sister, Catherine, married the Revd Edmund Nelson and he was therefore uncle of Horatio Nelson. Young Nelson owed his entry into the Navy to the influence of Suckling, who was captain of the 64-gun ship ‘Raisonnable’ when he joined in 1771. Suckling aimed to help his by then widowed brother-in-law, Edmund , by taking one of his sons to sea after the death of their mother. Horatio was keen to go but Suckling wrote to Edmund: ‘What has poor Horace done, who is so weak, that he, above all the rest should be sent to rough it out at sea? But let him come and the first time we go into action a cannon ball may knock off his head and provide for him at once.’ Suckling eventually became Controller of the Navy in April 1775, an important administrative position in which he was very effective in assisting the dockyard and other reforms being promoted by Lord Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty. He had gained earlier fame in a spirited action with the French on 21 October 1757 and this was therefore always a special day in the family calendar. By strange coincidence it was also that on which Nelson fought and died at Trafalgar in 1805. From early 1777 Suckling began to suffer painful but uncertain illness and died in July 1778. He was buried with his parents at Barsham. This is a copy of Thomas Bardwell’s original three-quarter length-portrait of 1764 in the National Portrait Gallery and is inscribed ‘Maurice Suckling Captain RN. After Bardwell 1764 died 1778’.
Date made 19th century

Artist/Maker British School, 19th century
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Caird Fund
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Frame: 986 mm x 858 mm x 108 mm;Painting: 762 mm x 635 mm
  • Captain Maurice Suckling, 1725-1778 (BHC3045)
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