Antique 18th Century Mezzotint Portrait of Naval Hero Capt John Harvey

Antique 18th Century Mezzotint Portrait of Naval Hero Capt John Harvey

Code: 11245


H: 50.5cm (19.9")W: 37cm (14.6")


The Royal Navy Hero Captain John Harvey (1740–1794) 
Mezzotint by John Murphy (c.1748-c.1820)
after a drawing by John George Wood (1768-1838)
based on an original portrait by Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828)
Published, London 1795

A good impression, trimmed to just outside the platemark with all text intact. Well presented in an antique Hogarth style frame.

50.5 cm x 37 cm

T.H. Parker Dealer in Paintings, Drawings and Prints (Capt. H. Parker F.R.G.S., F.R.Hist.S.), 12a Berkeley St, London, W.1. (Label Verso)

Final state with the full lettering beneath the image reading "Drawn by J.G. Wood after a Picture by Mr. Stuart, in the Possession of Mrs. Harvey. / Engraved by J. Murphy / To the King's most Excellent Majesty This Portrait of / Captn. John Harvey / Late of His Majesty's Ship Brunswick / Is with Permission humbly Dedicated by His Majesty's most dutiful Subject & Servant / J. G. Wood / London Published Jan.y 1795, by J.G. Wood, No. 39, New Bond Street" with the Royal arms and bearings.

Harvey was in command of H.M.S. Brunswick at the Battle of 'Glorious First of June' in 1794, during which he was mortally wounded when his ship became embroiled in a fierce four hour duel with the third ship in the French line of battle,Vengeur du Peuple, and sustained very heavy casualties. With regards to this struggle, his entry in the Dictionary of National Biography reads:-

"Harvey attempted to force an opening ahead of the Vengeur, when the Brunswick's starboard anchor hooked in the Vengeur's forechains and dragged the Vengeur along with her. The master proposed to cut her free. ‘No,’ said Harvey, ‘as we've got her we'll keep her.’ The two ships remained firmly grappled through a great part of the battle. Towards the close other English ships came to the Brunswick's help; and the Ramillies poured two tremendous raking broadsides into the Vengeur. The grappling had been cut away, but after a short time the Vengeur, dismasted and with the water pouring in through her smashed side, showed English colours in token of surrender. The Brunswick, not having a boat that could swim, was unable to take possession, and the Vengeur dropping astern was endeavouring to make off when she was brought to by the Culloden and Alfred. Every effort was made to remove her men, but she sank with more than half her crew still on board. The Brunswick, severely damaged, had fallen far to leeward, and being unable to rejoin the fleet bore up, and reached Spithead on the 12th. She had lost 44 men killed and 114 wounded. Early in the action Harvey's right hand was shattered by a musket-ball; afterwards he was stunned by a heavy splinter striking him in the small of the back; and a round shot afterwards smashed his right elbow."

Harvey walked below decks to have his wounds tended to and there had his right arm amputated. He was nursed at Portsmouth but died from his injuries on 30th June. Fatally wounded at the moment of victory, Harvey became famous as a swashbuckling hero, in much the same way (though on a smaller scale) as Nelson a decade later. A monument to him was erected, at the national expense, in Westminster Abbey (along with Captain Hutt of HMS Queen, who had also died of his wounds).

The original portrait of Capt Harvey by Gilbert Stuart is now in the possession of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich (see NMM - BHC3785). Presumably John Wood used Stuart's painting as the basis of another work to which he added the battle between H.M.S. Brunswick andVengeur to the background. This was then engraved by John Murphy.

See British Museum 2010,7081.2646 for a similar impression.