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Captain Paul Jones!

Title
Capt. Paul Jones shooting a Sailor who had attempted to strike his Colours in an Engagement. Printed for R. Sayer & J. Bennett, Maps and Printsellers, No. 53 Fleet Street as the Act directs. 1st Jany. 1780. [together with:] Paul Jones shooting a Sailor who had attempted to strike his Colours in an Engagement From the original picture by John Collet, in the possession of Carington Bowles. Printed for & Sold by Carrington Bowles, at his Map & Print Warehouse. No. 69 in St. Pauls Church Yard, London.
Author
[after COLLET, John]
Publication date
[1779]/1780
Dimensions
328 by 253mm. (13 by 10 inches).
Price
SOLD
Reference
2372

Description

Mezzotint engraving.

Notes

A fine English produced fanciful image depicting Captain John Paul Jones during the celebrated battle between his ship, the Bon Homme Richard, and the HMS Serapis.

John Paul Jones, 1747-92, one of America's first great Naval commanders. On September 23, 1779, his ship, the Bon Homme Richard, engaged the HMS Serapis and fought a long and bloody battle. At one point Captain Richard Pearson, commanding "Serapis," called out to Jones, asking if he surrendered. Jones replied "I have not yet begun to fight!" Eventually, Capt. Pearson tore down his colours and surrendered. At the time, the British considered Jones to be a rogue pirate due to his exploits in the Irish Sea, raiding the coast and capturing ships. A number of prints were made in England during the period that depicted him as such. This print one of the more important of these images produced and depicts Captain Jones in the act of shooting a sailor with a cutlass in his left hand and pistols in his belt. This incident never took place and is likely an exaggeration of an incident that happened during the encounter in which a shell shocked American gunner shouted for quarter until Jones knocked him down with the butt of a pistol.

Bibliography

Olds, Bits & Pieces #366 & 367; Smith, American Naval Broadsides #17 & 18.