Prison-Ship 'York' in Portsmouth Harbour
Print. The 'York' was a 74-gun third rate built on contract at the Nelson Dock Rotherhithe, by Samuel and Daniel Brent shortly before they removed from what had been the Randall & Brent yard there to the Greenland Dock. She was laid down in 1805 and launched in 1807. She had a fairly active career mainly in the Atlantic and West Indies, though not involved in any very notable actions, was converted to a prison ship at Portsmouth in 1819, and could hold up to about 500 convicts including those passing through after being sentenced to transportation to New South Wales. The ship was broken up at Portsmouth in 1854. This image was etched by Cooke for his series 'Shipping and Craft', published in 1828-29, and shows the 'York' receiving prisoners, with another cut-down hulk moored alongside her. The fortified mole on the left suggests the location as the Gosport side of the harbour, inside the seaward defences of what is now Fort Blockhouse. The present impression appears either to be a proof, since the 'Shipping and Craft' plate had the image extending to a ruled border with the caption and artist details below. PAF3148 is a similar one with a fuller title than eventually added pencilled in in Cooke's hand: ' Prison-ship in Portsmouth Harbour with the convicts going on board'. An ink inscription here has been written on with 'Hants' (Hampshire) in pencil lower right. PAE6353, dated 4 July 1831, is a later sketch from the same viewpoint with a rather larger hulk alongside to the right, and at a greater distance, identified as the 'lazaretto' (quarantine ship). [PvdM 5/15]
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