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Edward Vernon

Edward Vernon, by Thomas Gainsborough, circa 1753 - NPG 881 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Edward Vernon

by Thomas Gainsborough
oil on canvas, circa 1753
49 3/4 in. x 40 7/8 in. (1264 mm x 1038 mm)
Purchased, 1891
Primary Collection
NPG 881

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  • Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), Portrait and landscape painter. Artist associated with 262 portraits, Sitter in 8 portraits.

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Thomas Gainsborough's portrait shows Admiral Edward 'Old Grog' Vernon (1684-1757). He led the capture of the Spanish colonial possession of Porto Bello (now in Panama) during the War of Jenkins' Ear in 1739. Vernon's greatest claim to fame, was his 1740 order that his crew's rum rations should be diluted with water and have lemon juice added to prevent scurvy. The rest of the Navy rapidly followed, calling the new drink 'grog' after Vernon's nickname. More detailed information on this portrait is available in a National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue, John Kerslake's Early Georgian Portraits (1977, out of print).

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