Admiral Sir George Martin (1764-1847)

A half-length portrait to the left showing Martin in admiral's full dress uniform of the 1812-25 pattern, wearing the star and ribbon of the GCB, the St Vincent medal and the star of Neopolitan order St Januarius. This copy of the orginal, painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence sometime between 1821 and 1825, was presented to Greenwich Hospital in 1848, following Martin's death the previous year.
Sir George Martin was the son of Captain William Martin, RN (d. 1766) and his wife Arabella, the daughter of Admiral Sir William Rowley. He appears to have first gone to sea in the ‘Monarch’ in December 1776 as servant to his uncle, Captain Joshua Rowley. He was at the action of Ushant on 27 July 1778 and followed Rowley to the ‘Suffolk’, which saw action in the Battle of Grenada, 6 July 1779, and off Martinique in April and May the following year. He was promoted lieutenant in the ‘Russell’ on 16 July 1780 and later joined his uncle again in the ‘Princess Royal’ at Jamaica. Promoted to command the sloop ‘Tobago’ on 9 March 1780, Martin was then posted to the ‘Preston’ (50 guns) on 17 March 1783 and returned home in 1784.
Between 1789 and 1792, Martin commanded the ‘Porcupine’ (24 guns) off the coast of Ireland and was in the ‘Magicienne’ (32 guns) in the West Indies in 1793. He was appointed to the ‘Irresistible’ (74 guns) in 1795, seeing action in the Battle of Cape St Vincent.
He was appointed to the 74-gun ‘Northumberland’ in July 1798 and was in charge of the blockade of Malta from May 1800, receiving the surrender of Valetta on 5 September that year. In 1801 he was under Lord Keith off Egypt. He commanded the ‘Colossus’ in the Channel in 1803, the ‘Glory’ in 1804 and in November 1804 was appointed to the ‘Barfleur’, seeing action off Cape Finisterre on 22 July 1805. Martin was promoted rear-admiral on 9 November 1805 and became second in command of Portsmouth in 1806. The following year he was engaged in the blockade of Cadiz and spent time in the Mediterranean under Lord Collingwood. He was promoted vice-admiral on 31 July 1810. From 1812 to 1814 he was commander-in-chief in the Tagus, and was knighted in 1814 when the Prince Regent visited the fleet at Spithead in 1814. He was made admiral on 19 July 1821 and was commander-in-chief at Portsmouth, 1824–27, with his flag in the ‘Victory’. In retirement he eventually attained the rank of admiral of the fleet (9 November 1846).
Charles Landseer was a successful landscape, genre and portrait painter. He was elected Royal Academician in 1845 and was keeper of the Royal Academy between 1851 and 1873. An obituarist noted that his work was characterized by ‘careful execution, appropriate accessories and costumes rather than by striking effects and grandeur of character’ [‘Art Journal’, 18 (1879), p. 217].

Object Details

ID: BHC2852
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Landseer, Charles
Date made: Early - Late 19th century; circa 1848
People: Martin, George
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection
Measurements: Frame: 1100 cm x 972 cm x 110 cm;Painting: 762 mm x 635 mm

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