The print is after a painting by Edward Penny, and is considered one of his best. The original oil and this print are in the collection of the National Maritime Museum in London. This print is also in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London. According to the National Maritime Museum: “Penny’s intimate portrait of Captain Affleck is an example of a picture within a picture. Affleck is informally seated at a table. On the wall behind him is a marine painting showing the Cape of Good Hope in what is now South Africa. Affleck had originally been a midshipman in a ship of the East India Company whose ships called at the Cape on their way to the East — so the inclusion of this picture may well be a reference to the early part of his life.” Affleck also served as a lieutenant in the Royal Navy during the Siege of Louisbourg, an attack by the British on French fortresses in 1758 which was the largest battle in North America until the Civil War, and which succeeded in capturing the Canadian Maritime Provinces for the British.
Edward Penny was an English portrait painter, trained in London and Rome. By 1748 he had established an excellent reputation. He specialized in small full-length portraits and was a member of the Royal Academy.
John Young was a mezzotint engraver in London, who produced some 80 portraits. He served as mezzotint engraver to Prince of Wales (1789-1820) as well as Keeper to the British Institution and honorary secretary of the Artists’ Benevolent Fund (1810-13). His works include outline engravings of famous paintings, a series of catalogues of galleries, and portraits of the Emperors of Turkey. Young exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1794.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual light toning, wear, soiling, soft creases, abrasions. Margins trimmed as is often the case with separately issued 18th century mezzotint portraits. Few short tears scattered stabilized and restored as professionally rebacked on supporting sheet by paper conservator.
“Edward Penny.” The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan. 2000. Online at Artnet.com. http://www.artnet.com/library/06/0662/T066200.asp (23 January 2003).
“From Our Collections: Captain Philip Affleck.”National Maritime Museum. http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server.php?request=setTemplate:singlecontent&contentTypeA=con MuseumAsset&contentId=1876 (23 January 2003).
Maxted, Ian. “The London book trades 1775-1800: a preliminary checklist of members: John Young.” Exeter Working Papers in British Book Trade History. 20 June 2001. http://www.devon.gov.uk/library/locstudy/bookhist/lonw.html (23 January 2003).