George Henry Harlow’s portrait of John Windham Dalling (1789-1853) shows the 16-year-old midshipman fresh from his experience serving in the Battle of Trafalgar.

George Henry Harlow’s portrait of John Windham Dalling (1789-1853) shows the 16-year-old midshipman fresh from his experience serving in the Battle of Trafalgar. Dalling served aboard the third-rate ship of the line HMS Defence at the battle in October 1805. He left HMS Defence on a month-long leave in December 1805 and the portrait was probably painted during this time. Dalling is shown in uniform against a backdrop of a stormy sea, probably Cape Trafalgar. Harlow was a society portrait painter who trained under the celebrated portraitist Thomas Lawrence. Among his sitters were the actress Sarah Siddons and the Duke of Kent (Queen Victoria’s father), and the artist Henry Fuseli. He exhibited 45 paintings at the Royal Academy during his short career.
There are relatively few surviving works by Harlow and the painting of Midshipman Dalling remained in the sailor’s family until 2011. It now comes to the National Museum of the Royal Navy as a rare example of a portrait of a midshipman serving in the force.

Provenance

By descent through the Windham, Dalling and Meade Families; Sold Bonhams, 2011; Lane Fine Art.


National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth

Hm Naval Base (Pp 66), Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 3NH
02392 839766
Website

Opening times

Apr – Oct Daily, 10am – 5.30pm with last entry from 4.30pm

Nov – Mar Daily, 10am – 5pm with last entry from 4pm. Closed 24 – 26 Dec

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