Adam Duncan, 1st Viscount Duncan

1 portrait

Adam Duncan, 1st Viscount Duncan, by Henri-Pierre Danloux, 1792 - NPG 1084 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Adam Duncan, 1st Viscount Duncan

by Henri-Pierre Danloux
oil on canvas, 1792
30 in. x 24 1/2 in. (762 mm x 622 mm)
Purchased, 1897
Primary Collection
NPG 1084

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Viscount Duncan was Commander-in-Chief in the North Sea, (1795-1801). Though his fleet took part in the mutiny of 1797, he won the Battle of Camperdown later the same year when the Dutch set sail to invade Ireland. The artist, Danloux, a refugee from the French Revolution, painted two portraits of Duncan; this is the earlier and shows him in the undress uniform of a Rear Admiral. Duncan is depicted standing on the quarterdeck as if supporting himself against the movement of the ship, his hair blown by the wind and his telescope in both hands.

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Current affairs

The famous seven year trial of Warren Hastings, Governor-General of Bengal, on charges of embezzlement and murder, ends with his acquittal. Pro-Revolutionary philosopher Joseph Priestley's house is destroyed by a mob on the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille. Their actions are later seen as a key moment in the defeat of Enlightenment ideals in England.

Art and science

Mary Wollstonecraft publishes A Vindication of the Rights of Woman; a radical work which called on women to be allies to one another; fearless in their support and free in their criticism. Sir Joshua Reynolds dies and is succeeded by Benjamin West as President of the Royal Academy.


The mob invades the Tuileries and the French Royal Family is imprisoned marking the end of France's experiment with constitutional monarchy and the declaration of the first French Republic. The Revolutionary Commune is established in Paris. France declares war on Austria and then Prussia.

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