Portraits of the Officers and Men who were preserv'd from the Wreck of the Centaur
Hand-coloured. 'In 1784 [Northcote] exhibited [at the Royal Academy] his first modern history painting, "The Wreck of HMS Centaur", painted for Henry Noel, sixth earl of Gainsborough (des.), which Northcote acknowledged as ‘the grandest and most original thing I ever did’ . The success of this painting helped launch Northcote's career as a history painter, which began in earnest in 1786 [the year he was elected ARA].' (From Martin Postle's entry on Northcote in ODNB). The original painting, as hung at the Royal Academy in Somerset House, is shown taking pride of place in the centre, above the line, on one of the walls of the Great Room in E. F. Burney's record drawings of the exhibition of 1784, reproduced in David Solkin's 'Art on the Line: the Royal Academy exhibitions 1780-1836' (2001)
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