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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

William Bligh (1754-1817), Admiral and explorer; captain of the Bounty

Naval officer; accompanied Cook’s third and last voyage 1772-75; returning from Tahiti in 1789 as captain of the Bounty, his crew mutinied, setting him adrift with eighteen companions; he sailed over three thousand miles to the Dutch East Indies and arrived home in March 1790; FRS 1801; governor of New South Wales 1805-10; rear-admiral 1811, vice-admiral 1814.

‘According to family tradition he was a man below the average height, robust, and active. Dr Arnold describes him in his later days as ‘corpulent’ ... [a fellow officer described him as] ‘a very choleric gentleman, but at the same time, a very just man’ (George Mackaness, 1931).

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.