The Rectory, Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk

Apparently the source of the engraving of Nelson's birthplace, entitled on the plate 'The Parsonage House of Burnham Thorpe' (see PAF4316), which appeared in the first volume of Clarke and McArthur's 'Life of Nelson' (1809). There has been longstanding confusion about the artist, whose name is given as 'F. Pocock' on the plate and has been expanded in various sources to 'Francis Pocock', though apparently otherwise unknown. Clarke and McArthur's index clearly states the image was painted by 'J. Pocock' from an 'exact drawing in possession of Earl Nelson', the admiral's elder brother, William. Allowing the traditional interchangeability of 'I' and 'J' this can only indicate Isaac Pocock, the painter son of Nicholas, the marine artist, who himself did much work for their book: 'F' on the plate is therefore probably just a slip. The house itself had been two large cottages, knocked together. It was bitterly cold in winter and was demolished in 1802. The drawing on which this view was based has not been located and BHC1771 is another oil on panel version, of uncertain authorship, with the same imagined Nelson family group in the foreground. In this young Horatio is presumably the boy dressed in blue with a red flag, with his parents and a sibling. Isaac Pocock (1782-1835) trained as a portraitist under Romney and Beechey but also did historical compositions. He exhibited at the Royal Academy, the British Institution and the Liverpool Academy, but from 1809 turned to playwriting, at which he had considerable success. In 1818 his inheritance of the Maidenhead estate of his former sea-captain uncle, Sir Isaac, ended his painting career but he continued writing popular drama to his death. PvdM 5/05

Object Details

ID: BHC1772
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Francis Pocock; Pocock, Isaac
Date made: early 19th century
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Nelson-Ward Collection
Measurements: Painting: 305 mm x 406 mm

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