Self-portrait of Lieutenant Gabriel Bray shaving [Bray album]

No. 49 of 74 (PAJ1976 - PAJ2049)

Dated and signed on the backing sheet 'March 75 AVpGB' (to the life by Gabriel Bray). This is one of two such self-portraits in the Bray album, the other showing him painting in watercolours (and probably using the same mirror) being PAJ2025. Both also show the long hair which men of the time could favour, usually tied back into a queue (pigtail) with ribbon among sailors (and soldiers) and powdered white in formal circumstances.

Both these drawings are among 73 by Bray (plus one signed 'NF 1782') preserved in a 19th-century album. They have now been separately remounted. Bray (1750-1823), was second lieutenant of the 44-gun ‘Pallas’ under Captain the Hon. William Cornwallis (1744-1819) – later a well-known admiral - on two voyages (1774-77) to report on British interests in West Africa, including the slave trade. The dated drawings refer only to the first of these, from December 1774 to September 1775, though a few may be from the second. Others comprise country views, some of Deal, Kent (where Bray may have come from), and others of social-history interest.

Object Details

ID: PAJ2024
Collection: Fine art
Type: Drawing
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Gabriel Bray
Date made: March 1775
People: Gabriel Bray
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Purchased with the assistance of the Society for Nautical Research Macpherson Fund
Measurements: Primary support: 177 mm x 129 mm; Secondary support: 228 mm x 174 mm; Mount: 483 mm x 318 mm

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