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William Bligh

William Bligh, by John Smart, engraved 1803 -NPG 4317 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

William Bligh

by John Smart
engraved 1803
5 3/4 in. x 3 1/4 in. (146 mm x 83 mm)
NPG 4317

Inscriptionback to top

Inscribed Capn Bligh and verso: Captain Bligh of/the Director; stamped NPG and, verso, with the Ingram collector’s mark.

This portraitback to top

One of Smart’s eighteen portrait studies for the commemorative engraving, published in 1803, of the Battle of Camperdown (1797) in which Bligh commanded the Director. Eleven were formerly in the Ingram collection, the others being of Admirals Duncan and Onslow; Captains Burgess, Drury, Essington, O’Brien, Trollope, Walker and Wells, and Lieutenant Phillips. The remaining studies were of Captains Byard, Fairfax, Gregory, Hotham, Inglis, Knight and Mitchell. [1]

Footnotesback to top

1) See D. Foskett, John Smart, 1964, pp 33-34.

Physical descriptionback to top

Clear brown eyes, own white hair, in the undress uniform of a senior captain.

Provenanceback to top

Mrs Busteed, the artist’s great-granddaughter; her sale, Christie’s, 17 December 1936, lot 34; Sir Bruce Ingram, from whose executors purchased 1963.

Exhibitionsback to top

Masters of Maritime Art, Colnaghi, 1937; Mutiny on the Bounty, National Maritime Museum, 1989 (193).

Reproductionsback to top

J. Parker & G. Noble 1803, as part of the Commemoration of the XIth October MDCCXCVII.1

1 See G. Callender, 'The Portraiture of Bligh', The Mariner's Mirror, XXII, 1936, pp 175-176.


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.

View all known portraits for William Bligh

View all known portraits for John Smart

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