WATSON, James (c. 1740- 1790) after Charles GRIGNION (1754-1804)
Sir Richard Pearson
London: Published by John Boydell, Cheapside, Nov. 1st, 1780. Mezzotint. Collectors stamp on lower left corner of sheet. State ii/ii with the plate cut down and the engraved inscription on a separate plate. In excellent condition with wide margins. Image size: 13 15/16 x 11 inches. Sheet size: 22 11/16 x 17 3/8 inches. Plate mark: 13 15/16 x 11 inches (with separate text plate measuring 1 1/2 x 11 inches).
Arich mezzotint portrait of Sir Richard Pearson who battled John Paul Jones in one of the most famous sea battles in American naval history.
This lovely rich impression of James Watson's portrait of Sir Richard Pearson (1731-1806) is filled with a dignified grace befitting the character of this noble gentleman. Although Pearson served on a vast array of ships and participated in numerous navel engagements he is best remembered for his confrontation with John Paul Jones, the founder of the American navy. In the autumn of 1779, Pearson was escorting a convoy of trade ships from the Baltic when he encountered Jones who was engaged in raiding English trade ships along the Channel. The desperate battle came to be Jones' most famous engagement, and resulted with the defeat of Pearson's ship the Serapis. It was during this heated battle that Jones uttered his famous words "I have not begun to fight yet". In a close battle where both sides suffered heavy losses, Pearson's vessel was captured and he was returned to England. He was however considered a hero since through his prolonged defense, his convoy was able to sail to safety. Jones' ship, Bonhomme Richard sank at the end of the battle, and Jones had to sail to port in the Serapis.
From the collection of Ozias Humphry, the renowned miniaturist and Royal Academician. The collection was later inherited by his son William Upcott, the celebrated antiquarian and autograph collector. Later, part of the collection of the Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig. Lugt states that the duplicates from this collection were sold by C.G Boerner in two sales occurring on the 2-5 and the 19-23 of May 1924. This print was one of the prints from the collection sold by Boerner's. (Lugt)
Goodwin, Thomas Watson, James Watson, Elizabeth Judkins 125, ii/ii; Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits 115, ii/ii; O'Donoghue, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits... in the British Museum 1, ii/ii; Lennox-Boyd & Stogdon, state ii/ii; Lugt, Les Marques de Collections 1284 and 1669e, 1669f.