Rear-Admiral Richard Tyrrell, 1716/7-66

A three-quarter-length portrait to right in flag officer's full-dress uniform, 1748-67, and a tie wig. His right hand is on his hip and his left holds a telescope with his hat visible under his left arm. In 1748 he frustrated a French attempt to take over Tobago, using only his frigate and forceful personality. In 1758, while in command of the 'Buckingham', 64 guns, he intercepted a French convoy protected by the 'Florissant', 74 guns, and two frigates. The 'Buckingham', is depicted in the right background of the portrait, flying a commodore's pendant and a white ensign. When the 'Buckingham' frightened off the two frigates a spirited action between the French and British ship ensued. The 'Buckingham' lost her steering at the moment of victory and this enabled the French ship to escape. Tyrrell was wounded several times and lost three fingers of his right hand, a mutilation clearly visible in the portrait. The action was particularly creditable because the Frenchman carried over 200 men more than the 'Buckingham'. In the following year Tyrrell assisted Commodore Moore to reduce Guadaloupe and brought home the dispatches. After the peace he went out again as Commander-in-Chief at Antigua and died at sea while returning home. There are signs that the portrait was originally of Tyrrell as a captain and it was probably altered at a later date, before he went to the West Indies for the last time. Upon his marriage to Mrs. Russell Chester (née Tankard), a wealthy widow, in November 1747, Tyrrell became a joint-owner of her father's estate, Tankard's, on Antigua and the enslaved people on it. He became the sole owner after his wife's death in 1751 and retained the estate, which he renamed Tyrrell's, until his death in 1766. He also held a mortgage of £5000 on an estate on St Kitts and, in his will, he disposed of further slave-property on Jamaica ( The painter, Hudson, was both pupil and son-in-law of another notable portraitist, the elder Jonathan Richardson, and was in turn the early master in London of Joshua Reynolds. Regarded as a safe man for a dignified and flattering likeness, he was the leading society portraitist of his time, with a huge practice. Although he painted his sitters' faces, his use of assistants to paint much of the rest of his portraits was well known although far from unusual.

Object Details

ID: BHC3064
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Hudson, Thomas
Date made: 1759-1762; 1759-62
People: Tyrrell, Richard
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Frame: 1466 mm x 1214 mm x 74 mm;Painting: 1270 mm x 1015 mm

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