London. 1776. Mezzotint engraving, 14 x 9 1/4 inches; mounted and framed to 21 x 16 1/2 inches. Trimmed to edge of image, mounted and matted. Quite clean. Very good. Item #WRCAM43461
Engraved three-quarter length portrait of Commodore Esek Hopkins, showing him in his Continental uniform with one hand upraised and pointing forward, while he looks off to the left; several ships sail behind him, and a banner that has the Liberty Tree and "An Appeal to God" is above his outstretched hand. Esek Hopkins was the commander of the fledgling American Navy - comprised of eight merchant ships outfitted for war - during the American Revolution. After several run-ins with Congress over not following orders, and a signed petition of complaint from his officers, Hopkins was suspended in early 1777 and then summarily dismissed in January 1778. "His mediocre record of command, added to his political ineptness, made dismissal inevitable" - ANB. This print is one in a series of portraits of officers in the American Revolution, the intent of which was obviously to glorify the Americans and demonize the British. The British Museum CATALOGUE notes that several of the likenesses were imaginary, and the imprint lines may have been fictitious. BM CATALOGUE OF PRINTS 5336. ANB (online).