2 of 5 portraits of William Bligh
- Extended Catalogue Entry
by John Smart
pencil and watercolour, engraved 1803
5 3/4 in. x 3 1/4 in. (146 mm x 83 mm)
Sitterback to top
- William Bligh (1754-1817), Admiral and explorer; captain of the Bounty. Sitter in 5 portraits.
Artistback to top
- John Smart (1741-1811), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 20 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 59
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 61
- Walker, Richard, Miniatures: 300 Years of the English Miniature, 1998, p. 81 Read entry
'Breadfruit Bligh', as he was called, was sailing-master in the Resolution on Captain James Cook's second voyage (1772-5), during which the breadfruit plant was discovered at Otaheite. On Bligh's later voyage (1787-9) to obtain breadfruit plants from Otaheite for acclimatisation in the British West Indies, the famous mutiny occurred (April 1789). Bligh, with eighteen of his crew, was cast adrift in an open boat but managed to sail over 3,000 miles to safety, to the island of Timor, where he arrived in June with twelve survivors.
Events of 1803back to top
Current affairsThe Vice Society is formally established by John Reeves and his associates to campaign against blasphemy and immorality, particularly that perpetrated by Thomas Paine and the Edinburgh Review.
Art and scienceErasmus Darwin's Temple of Nature published posthumously. A scientific treaty in the form of an elaborate couplet poem, its content anticipated some of the evolutionary ideas developed by his grandson, Charles Darwin, fifty years later.
Construction of the Caledonian Canal begins.
InternationalWar with France resumes, sparking new fears of a cross-channel invasion.
United Irishman, Robert Emmett's attempted uprising in Dublin. Planned to coincide with Napoleon's expected invasion, it aimed to overthrow the English administration but ended in failure. Emmett is hanged along with several other conspirators.
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