The Mutineers turning Lieutenant Bligh and part of the Officers and Crew adrift from His Majesty's Ship the Bounty…. BLIGH, Robert DODD.
The Mutineers turning Lieutenant Bligh and part of the Officers and Crew adrift from His Majesty's Ship the Bounty…

The Mutineers turning Lieutenant Bligh and part of the Officers and Crew adrift…
The Mutineers turning Lieutenant Bligh and part of the Officers and Crew adrift from His Majesty's Ship the Bounty…

London: B.B. Evans, 1790.

Coloured aquatint engraving, 455 x 620 mm., mounted and framed.

The most infamous moment in naval history: Bligh cast adrift

The mutiny on the Bounty, Bligh and his men cast adrift: one of the best known of all maritime images, which includes the only known portrait of Fletcher Christian. This aquatint was issued in October 1790, only a few months after the first printing of Bligh's Narrative, at a time when interest in the events was building to a crescendo, and just before Bligh faced his own court-martial for the loss of the Bounty. Repeatedly reproduced, this is the rare original printing of the separately issued aquatint engraving showing one of the most infamous moments in maritime history: Bligh and his men being cast adrift in the longboat. At the moment depicted, the painter of the longboat is still attached to the ship, and the four swords reluctantly allowed to the men in the longboat are about to be thrown to them. That Dodd's sympathies lay with Bligh is made further evident in the caption, present here, which notes that the men in the open boat "sustained life under divine providence for 41 days".

The mutiny on the Bounty, Bligh and his men cast adrift: one of the best known of all maritime images, which includes the only known portrait of Fletcher Christian. This aquatint was issued in October 1790, only a few months after the first printing of Bligh's Narrative, at a time when interest in the events was building to a crescendo, and just before Bligh faced his own court-martial for the loss of the Bounty. Repeatedly reproduced, this is the rare original printing of the separately issued aquatint engraving showing one of the most infamous moments in maritime history: Bligh and his men being cast adrift in the longboat. At the moment depicted, the painter of the longboat is still attached to the ship, and the four swords reluctantly allowed to the men in the longboat are about to be thrown to them. That Dodd's sympathies lay with Bligh is made further evident in the caption, present here, which notes that the men in the open boat "sustained life under divine providence for 41 days".

The aquatint is of particular importance as it offers the only known portrait of Fletcher Christian, who is here seen standing on the stern of the Bounty, watching Bligh in the longboat: Glynn Christian has since noted that comparison of this print with the detailed plans of the Bounty shows that Fletcher Christian is standing on the precise location of Bligh's personal privy (Fragile Paradise, p. 58). It is known that Bligh approved the original of this image, and he is even said to have helped the artist Robert Dodd correct the likeness of most of the crewmen portrayed. As Dening notes, it is 'accurate enough in many details for us to suspect that Dodd worked from eye-witness descriptions. So maybe Christian wore a hat in the mutiny!…' (Mr Bligh's Bad Language, Cambridge, 1992, p. 54).

Bligh describes this moment in the publication of the official account: "Particular people were called on to go into the boat, and were hurried over the side; whence I concluded that with these people I was to be set adrift: I therefore made another effort to bring about a change, but with no other effect than to be threatened with having my brains blown out … Being in the boat, we were veered astern by a rope. A few pieces of pork were thrown to us, some clothes, also the cutlasses... After having undergone a great deal of ridicule, and been kept some time to make sport for these unfeeling wretches, we were at length cast adrift in the open ocean" (Voyage to the South Sea, pp. 155-8).

Robert Dodd (1748-1816), a leading English marine painter, made several such fine naval aquatints, including the famous image of the Guardian foundering on Christmas Eve 1789, and another of the dramatic conflict between the Spanish and the English at Nootka Sound in Northwest America.

Nan Kivell & Spence, p. 32; Spence, 'Bligh', p. 39.

Price (AUD): $21,000.00  other currencies Ref: #4504091

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