William Penny

1 portrait

William Penny, by Stephen Pearce, 1853 - NPG 1209 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

William Penny

by Stephen Pearce
oil on canvas, 1853
50 1/8 in. x 39 3/8 in. (1273 mm x 1000 mm)
Bequeathed by John Barrow, 1899
Primary Collection
NPG 1209


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Sitterback to top

  • William Penny (1808-1892), Seaman and explorer. Sitter in 2 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Stephen Pearce (1819-1904), Portrait and equestrian painter. Artist associated with 63 portraits, Sitter in 2 portraits.

This portraitback to top

In 1850, William Penny, a whaling officer, led one of the many expeditions in search of Sir John Franklin who had gone missing when charting the Arctic regions five years earlier. Penny's brig was named after his patron, Lady Franklin, the second wife of the missing explorer. This portrait by Stephen Pearce shows Penny in his explorer's garb with a view of the Arctic, including a team of dogs, behind him. The inscription on the flag reads: 'God aiding us we will do our duty'.

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