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Pocock Nicholas
(17401821)

Pocock Nicholas (17401821)

English painter, born in Bristol on 2 March 1740. He was apprenticed to his seaman father from 1754 and from 1766 captained Bristol trading vessels for the Champion family of merchants there the Lloyd, Betsey and Minerva on 12 voyages, mainly to America and the West Indies. While at sea he was able to indulge his interest in drawing and filled his log books with small wash vignettes illustrating the condition of the ship or weather each day. His marriage in 1780 may have influenced his decision to give up the sea and become a professional marine painter. In this year, after submitting works which arrived too late for the Royal Academy exhibition, he received an encouraging letter from its President, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and in 1782 exhibited two marine views and two shipping scenes of his native Bristol at the Academy. He then had an unbroken record of exhibition there until 1812, his last appearance being in 1815.

In 1789 he moved to Westminster, London, but returned briefly to sea in 1794 as a guest in the frigate Pegasus, witnessing the Battle of the Glorious First of June, which he recorded in sketches and written notes which are now in the National Maritime Museum. From his arrival in London, Pococks knowledge as a seaman, his talent as a painter, and his social skills, ideally suited him to commemorate the marine subjects required by both Royal Naval and mercantile patrons. He found early favour with Admiral Lord Hood, a British hero of the War of American Independence, from which he painted a number of sea engagements. After the death of Dominic Serres in 1793 he became the leading British naval painter throughout the long French Wars which began in that year, although he also painted many more peaceful marine views in oil and watercolour and was a founder member of the Society of Painters in Watercolour in 1804. Many of his works were engraved, including as book illustrations, and he contributed a large number of the plates which illustrated the Naval Chronicle (17991818). This was practically the Navys trade journal during the Napoleonic period of the war (to 1815), with which Pococks exhibiting career ended. In 1817 he had a stroke which seems to have stopped him painting altogether and he moved to live with his eldest son Isaac at Maidenhead, where he died on 19 March 1821. Of his children, Isaac (17821835), a pupil of Romney and Beechey, was also a painter of historical subjects and portraits, including of his father (private collection; engraver. E. Scriven) and of a few naval men, although he is better known as a playwright. Isaacs younger brother William Innes (17831836), was primarily a Royal Naval lieutenant but also a skilled marine watercolourist.


Anguilla, 1981, Nelson's Ships

British Indian Ocean Territory, 2005, Battle of Trafalgar

Ghana, 2006, Nelson's flagships

Gibraltar, 1998, Battle of the Nile

Gibraltar, 2005, Death of Nelson

Great Britain, 2005, Entrepreante with dismasted British Belle Isle

Great Britain, 2005, Nelson wounded on Deck of HMS Victory

Great Britain, 2005, Entrepreante attempting to rescue Crew of burning Achille

Great Britain, 2005, Catter and HMS Pickle

Great Britain, 2005, Nelson attacking in two columns

Great Britain, 2005, Franco/Spanish Flleet putting to Sea from Cadiz

Great Britain, 2005, Admiral Nelson

Grenada Grenadines, 2005, Battle of the Nile

Liberia, 2005, Nelson's Ships

Maldives, 2005, Battle of Trafalgar

Sierra Leone, 2005, At the commencement of the Battle of Trafalgar

St. Kitts, 2005, HMS Victory

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