The Burning of the Russian 74-gun Sewolod After she had been Engaged and Silenced by HMS Implacable, Captain T. Byam Martin, in the Baltic, 26 August, 1808
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Nicholas Pocock ( Bristol 1741 - Maidenhead 1821 )
After an apprenticeship in the Bristol shipbuilding yards of Richard Champion, Pocock began a career at sea in the mid-1760s. He was a practised and gifted amateur watercolourist (his earliest signed and dated watercolour is from 1762), and when in command of the Lloyd, one of Champion’s merchantmen, he began to keep detailed logbooks illustrated with wash drawings (four at London, National Maritime Museum). In 1780 he gave up his sea career, married and sent his first oil painting to the Royal Academy. The picture arrived too late for exhibition, but Sir Joshua Reynolds wrote back, noting ‘It is much beyond what I expected from a first essay in oil colours’. Pocock exhibited annually at the Academy between 1782 and 1812 and enjoyed a steady supply of commissions for oil paintings and watercolours, mostly of marine subject-matter. He produced a series of watercolour views of Bristol (stylistically close to Edward Dayes) in the 1780s, many of which were engraved, and of Iceland in 1791. In 1804 and 1811, editions of William Falconer’s poem The Shipwreck were published with plates etched after Pocock’s designs.