Capt Bartholomew Roberts (c.1682 - 1722)

This print of the pirate Bartholomew Roberts first appeared as page 228 (and is so inscribed) in the 1734 first folio edition of Charles Johnson's 'A general history of the lives and adventures of the most famous highwaymen, murderers, street-robbers, etc, to which is added, a genuine account of the voyages and plunders of the most notorious pyrates'. This was an expanded and more 'de-luxe' edition of the his bestselling but smaller format 'A General History of the Pyrates', first issued in 1724 but much reprinted. Roberts - something of a dandy - is presumably shown at the end of his short but bloody career standing on the West African coast with a raid on a slave fort going on behind him. On coming over from the West Indies he had captured the 'Onslow', a large frigate-built ship belonging to the Royal African Company, on which he mounted forty guns and named her the 'Royal Fortune'. In January 1722 he attacked shipping at the slave port of Ouidah, and then sailed south to Cape Lopez. There, on 5 February, he was discovered by HM ship 'Swallow', under Captain Chaloner Ogle, who first captured the consort of the 'Royal Fortune' consort, the sloop 'Ranger', and then 'Royal Fortune' herself. Roberts was killed in the action of 10 February and 52 of his men were subsequently hanged at Cape Coast Castle. The ship under the fort is presumably intended as the 'Royal Fortune' with, perhaps, 'Ranger' in the distance. [PvdM 7/13]

Object Details

ID: PAD2721
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Elder, James Basire the; Nicholls, J Nicholls, Joseph Basire, Isaac
Date made: 1734
People: Roberts, Bartholomew
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: 354mm x 227mm
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