Vice-Admiral Sir John Leake (1656-1720)

A three-quarter length standing portrait of Leake. He wears a blue velvet coat decorated with gold embroidered button holes and he has a full bottomed brown wig. His left hand rests on his hip and his right hand holds his baton as he gestures to the right.

Leake played the principal part at the relief of Londonderry in 1689, while in the ‘Dartmouth’, he broke the boom and destroyed the French batteries. He took part in the capture of Gibraltar in 1704, and in the background of the portrait Kneller has included the burning French ships that he attacked there. From 1703-05 he remained in the Mediterranean in command of a squadron which successfully defeated the Franco-Spanish attempts to retake Gibraltar. During his second tour in the Mediterranean he both relieved Barcelona and captured Cartagena, Alicante, Ivisa and Majorca in 1706. As Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean in 1708, he also captured Sardinia and Minorca which guaranteed English supremacy in these waters. In 1710 Leake became First Lord of the Admiralty, a post which he held until the death of Queen Anne. The date of this portrait is unclear, either in 1705 when he returned from the Mediterranean the first time or 1712 after his return from the second tour there. The painting is inscribed ‘By Sr Godfrey Knller. Sir John Leake, Vice Admrl of the Blew’. It was presented to Greenwich Hospital Collection by King George IV in 1824 and was engraved by Faber ‘Sir G. Kneller Bart pinx 1712’.

Object Details

ID: BHC2835
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Kneller, Godfrey
Date made: Late 17th century - Early 18th century; 1705-12 1705-1712
People: Leake, John; King George IV
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection
Measurements: Painting: 1270 mm x 1016 mm; Frame: 1489 x 1223 x 100 mm

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