Hinton Gibbs (British, active circa 1790-circa 1822) Admiral Sir Benjamin Hallowell-Carew GCB (1761-1834), wearing dark blue coat with facings and standing collar edged with gold, gold epaulettes, the Royal Order of St Ferdinand and Merit suspended from a blue sash hanging from his neck and the Long Service and Good Conduct naval medal fastened to his left facing, black waistcoat and stock, white chemise and frilled cravat, his hair powdered
Lot 34Y
Hinton Gibbs
(British, active circa 1790-circa 1822)
Admiral Sir Benjamin Hallowell-Carew GCB (1761-1834), wearing dark blue coat with facings and standing collar edged with gold, gold epaulettes, the Royal Order of St Ferdinand and Merit suspended from a blue sash hanging from his neck and the Long Service and Good Conduct naval medal fastened to his left facing, black waistcoat and stock, white chemise and frilled cravat, his hair powdered
Sold for £625 (US$ 1,009) inc. premium

Lot Details
Hinton Gibbs (British, active circa 1790-circa 1822)
Admiral Sir Benjamin Hallowell-Carew GCB (1761-1834), wearing dark blue coat with facings and standing collar edged with gold, gold epaulettes, the Royal Order of St Ferdinand and Merit suspended from a blue sash hanging from his neck and the Long Service and Good Conduct naval medal fastened to his left facing, black waistcoat and stock, white chemise and frilled cravat, his hair powdered.
Gold frame, the reverse of blue glass.
Oval, 65mm (2 9/16in) high
Provenance: Sotheby's, London, 15 July 1968, lot 15; The McKechnie Sale of Silhouettes, Sotheby's, London, 30 July 1979, lot 96.
Literature: S. McKechnie, British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760-1860, London, 1978, p.710, ill.p.727, pl.1530.

Footnotes

  • John Field portrayed the Admiral's profile in the form of a bronzed silhouette on plaster in c.1812 (McKechnie, ill.p.663, pl.1338).

    Having assumed the rank of Lieutenant in the Royal Navy in 1781, Benjamin saw action throughout the American Revolutionary, French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars. In 1797, he served aboard the now-celebrated HMS 'Victory' during the Battle of Cape St Vincent, and was admitted to the Admiralty as a result. The same year, Benjamin fought alongside Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson (1758-1805) at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the skirmish which famously claimed Nelson's right arm. Consequently, Benjamin is perhaps best remembered by maritime history as numbered amongst the Hero of Trafalgar's 'Band of Brothers'.

    Most famously, in 1798, during the aftermath of the Battle of the Nile, Benjamin sent Nelson a coffin constructed from wood taken from the mainmast of 'L'Orient', the French flagship, with an accompanying note suggesting, 'that when you have finished your military career in this world you may be buried in one of your trophies' (James Ralfe, The Naval Biography of Great Britain, London, 1828, vol.iii, p.67). Nelson, who was delighted with the gift, made the coffin his constant companion aboard ship, reputedly propping it behind his dining chair so that he might behold the object during meal times. When the curtain finally fell on the Battle of Trafalgar, the fallen Nelson was buried in what proved to be a tragically judicious gift.
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