[Naval Engagements of Admiral Rodney]
19 x 13.5 inches
A pair of copper plate engravings with extraordinary watercolour and gouache colouring; published in London by Carington Bowles circa 1790.
George Brydges Rodney (1718-1792) was one of England's finest and most successful Naval commanders throughout the C18th. His extraordinary career began in the 1740s and continued until well into the 1780s. He was involved in the American War of Independence, the Relief of Gibraltar, The Seven Years War and the Battle of Saint Vincent. His astonishing success on the high seas was marred by fluctuating financial fortunes at home. Born into a humble family he acquired great wealth from prize money in the 1740s which enabled him to buy a country estate and pursue his political ambitions. With reckless ambition and a propensity to spend extravagantly, he was declared bankrupt in 1774 and forced to flee the country. He was actually in a French jail when war was declared between England and France in 1778. It is a testament to his prowess that a benefactor secured his release and brought him back to England where he was awarded a peerage, a pension, a new command and future triumphs at sea.