Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich

(Updated, February 2015) A three-quarter length portrait to right in a leather coat and breastplate, the cuffs of the coat turned back at the elbow to show wide lawn sleeves. He wears his own hair long and his right hand is outstretched, his left rests on a stick. The background is foliage and trees, and a gauntlet rests on a ledge. The portrait was probably painted between his capture by Cavaliers, 1647, and political rise under Cromwell, 1654. He was later Admiral of the Blue and commanded the fleet that brought Charles II to England in 1660. He also commanded the rear squadron at the battle of Lowestoft in 1665, and at the Battle of Solebay, 1672. In the latter action his flagship the 'Royal James' was burnt and he was drowned, probably after escaping from the ship at the last minute. His floating body, scorched about the face and breast was later picked up by a Navy ketch and identified by the St George badge of Order of the Garter he was wearing. It was taken into Harwich where he lay in state at the Landguard Fort until the king's wishes for his funeral were known. These were for burial in Westminster Abbey, so a Navy yacht transported it to Deptford: there it was apparently disembarked on 3 July 1672 directly into the funeral procession that took it on to Westminster for the ceremony later that day. This is the earlier of two portraits of Sandwich in the Greenwich Hospital Collection (the other being that of 1666 in the 'Flagmen of Lowestoft' series, BHC3007): it was presented to the Hospital by John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich - himself a later First Lord of the Admiralty - in 1785, though apparently only sent to Greenwich following his death in 1792. The inscription identifying the sitter at lower left (EDWARD 1st : Earl of Sandwich) is probably an 18th-century addition. Willem van de Velde the Younger's ‘The Burning of the 'Royal James' at the Battle of Solebay, 28 May 1672’ (BHC0302) is a contemporary representation of the incident in which Sandwich died.

Object Details

ID: BHC3008
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Lely, Peter
Events: Second Anglo-Dutch War: Battle of Lowestoft, 1665; Second Anglo-Dutch War; 1665-1667
Date made: circa 1650; circa 1658-59
People: Montagu, Edward; Montagu, John
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection
Measurements: Painting: 1270 mm x 1015 mm; Frame: 1500 mm x 1255 mm x 100 mm; Overall: 34.8 kg

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