Gillray, James

1851

The Hero of the Nile

The Hero of the Nile

DESCRIPTION: 

Re-strike caricature copperplate engraving from the original plate, by one of England's finest 18th century artists and satirists, James Gillray. Gillray's topic in this plate, first published in 1798, is one of Britain's naval heros, Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805).

Today, without an explanation many readers would not realize that this engraving is a caricature of Nelson, generally considered to be a great naval leader. The Greenwich Royal Museum explains Gillray's point of view: " In contrast to other unquestioningly adulatory prints of Nelson’s victory at the Battle of the Nile, Gillray here sardonically points to the very large material rewards heaped upon Nelson as a result. Burlesquing the genre of heroic portraiture, he presents Nelson in solitary full-length, on deck and enveloped in smoke. Gillray draws attention to the diamond chelengk in Nelson’s hat, presented to him by the Sultan of Turkey, and in the adapted coat of arms below the main image satirizes his recent baronetcy. In November Nelson was created Baron Nelson of the Nile and Burnham Thorpe and was awarded a pension of £2000 a year. Gillray substitutes for the correct arms on the original shield a bulging purse and scroll inscribed ‘£2000 pr Ann’. Placed alongside Nelson’s motto ‘Palmam qui meruit ferat’ (Let he who has earned it bear the Palm), Gillray undermines the motto’s meaning, to question whether such a large material reward really is merited.
Source: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.Collections.

Originally published in 1798 this plate is a restrike by Henry Bohn printed from the original plates during 1845 to 1851. Printed on both sides of heavy wove paper, the other side contains another engraving, a biting satire by Gillray titled "Destruction of the French Collossus". Plate 211.

CREATOR: 

Gillray, James

PUBLICATION DATE: 

1851

GEOGRAPHIC AREA: 

United Kingdom

BODY OF WATER: 

N/A

CONDITION: 

Very good.  Strong impression and platemark.

COLORING: 

None

ENGRAVER: 

Gillray

SIZE: 

9 " x 14 "

PRICE: 

$245




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