[London: Jodocus Hondius, ca. 1583, but printed later]. Engraved portrait, 15 3/4 x 12 1/4 inches. A fine, black impression, expertly laid down on a larger sheet. Slight wear to upper edge. Very good and handsomely presented. Matted. Item #WRCAM21441
This handsome and striking print is generally considered the finest contemporary portrait of Sir Francis Drake. It has been attributed as the work of the engraver, Hondius, since the 18th century, although Kraus and others suggest it might be the work of Remigius Hogenberg. Only two copies are known of the first state of the print. This is a copy of the second state, probably printed by George Vertue in the 18th century, from the original copper plate, which he altered by adding additional shading to the background.
Drake is shown standing, holding a baton in one hand and a helmet in the other. He looks the viewer squarely in the eye. The mole on his nose and short-cropped hair testify to the trueness of the unidealized portrait. Behind him, by a window, hangs a globe. The caption below the portrait makes reference to the circumnavigation. The image forcefully conveys the appearance and personality of the man.
A cornerstone for any Drake collection. Kraus used this portrait as the frontispiece for his book on Drake. KRAUS, DRAKE 55 (and frontispiece). Hind, ENGRAVING IN ENGLAND, p.159.