Captain Sir Christopher Cole, 1770-1836

A mature portrait facing slightly to left in captain's full dress uniform, 1815-25. He wears a black stock and a grey boat-cloak with a black collar over his right shoulder, and draws it across his body with his left hand. He wears the neck ribbon and star of his KCB and the gold medal given for his services in the Banda Islands. The background is lightly sketched in brown and blue-grey.

The sitter joined the Navy as midshipman at the age of nine or ten, serving in the 'Royal Oak'. At a very young age he was present at Hood's action with the Comte de Grasse off Martinique on 29 April 1781, Graves's action with the same French fleet off the Chesapeake Capes on 5 September, Hood's second action with de Grasse off St Kitts on 25 January 1782 and Rodney's final defeat of de Grasse at the Battle of the Saints on 12 April that year.

He remained at sea until the start of the French Revolutionary War when he was flag-captain to Lord Hugh Seymour before taking command of the frigate 'Southampton' in 1800. In 1804 he went as flag captain to Sir Edward Pellew in the 'Culloden' to the East Indies. There he made his reputation in 1810 when he captured Neira, the principal Dutch spice island in the Banda group. For a time, on the death of Admiral Drury, he was commander-in-chief and later took a leading part in the capture of Java. He left the sea in 1814 after an almost unbroken service of 34 years and went into Parliament as MP of Glamorganshire in 1817. In 1828 he succeeded Sir William Hoste as captain of the 'Royal Sovereign' yacht.

The Salisbury-born artist moved to London in 1814. She painted a large number of Eton leaving portraits and in 1817 married the Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum. Their son, William, 1818-99, was also a portrait painter who went to Boston and India. The portrait was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1824.

Object Details

ID: BHC2623
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Carpenter, Margaret Sarah
Date made: 1820-1824; 1820-24
People: Cole, Captain Christopher
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Painting: 915 x 733 mm; Frame: 1035 x 855 x 75 mm

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