The Wreck of the East Indiaman 'Dutton' in Plymouth Sound, 26 January 1796

(Updated, February 2024) Print, inscribed 'To Sir Edward Pellew Bart. this Plate Representing the Distressful Situation of the Dutton East Indiaman is Dedicated by his Obt. Servt. John Jeffreys.' Captain Sir Edward Pellew, later 1st Viscount Exmouth, happened to be at Plymouth when the 'Dutton' went ashore in a gale there with 600 people on board, mainly troops which the ship was taking out to the West Indies. Pellew swam out with a line to the wreck, which allowed breeches buoys to be rigged and all but four of those on board were saved. The uniformed figure on the poop is probably intended as Pellew directing the rescue. It is likely that this print, published eight months later, was done from a drawing (rather than an oil painting) by Pocock, by this this time well established in London as a marine painter from his former occupations as sea captain and artist in his native Bristol. From 1821 (the year Pocock died) to 1834, his younger contemporary, Thomas Luny, is recorded as doing at least seven oil versions of various sizes of the loss of the 'Dutton'. Of these, the Museum has the largest (BHC3298) and it is clearly based on this print: so are the two others which have been seen, so it seems likely that all were. Of the two sighted, that in the Plymouth city collection was purchased in 1976 as by Pocock, since it bears an inscription and 1811 date thus identifying it. It is not the image on which the print was based and style aspects also look questionable (as does misdating of the incident in the inscription to '180[?]'). Its reported width does not match those recorded by Luny and the question of authorship has yet to be fully resolved.

Object Details

ID: PAH8439
Collection: Fine art
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Jeffryes, John; Pocock, Nicholas Pollard, Robert
Places: Unlinked place
Vessels: Dutton (1781)
Date made: 15 Sep 1796
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Sheet: 510 x 665 mm; Mount: 603 x 833 mm

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