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A Royal Navy Officer’s Campaign Looking Glass
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A Royal Navy Officer’s Campaign Looking Glass

circa 1790

Measurements: 21cm (8.25in) x 13cm (5.1in)



Part of a campaign mirror bearing a manuscript note of provenance to the reverse: viz - ‘This glass was formerly in the / possession of the Right Honble / Admiral Sir Joseph Yorke, K.C.B / father of [?] Lord Hardwicke - / The frame to it constructed of / Beef Wood. or New Zealand Oak. / On the cover is carved the Spanish sailors symbolic monogram / Upon the surrender of a Spanish / Man of War to the English Fleet in 1794 / it was taken from the cabin / of the Captain by  the Hon[?] J. Y.’

Admiral Sir Joseph Sydney Yorke, K.C.B. (1768-1831) entered the navy at the age of eleven and served as a midshipman in Rodney’s flagship Formidable in the victory over the French under Admiral de Grasse at the Battle of the Saintes in 1782. Yorke was promoted Lieutenant in 1789 and served in the 104 gun first rate H.M.S. Victory before being appointed Master and Commander of the sloop of war Rattlesnake in the English Channel. On the outbreak of war with Revolutionary France in 1793, he was promoted Post Captain and given command of the of frigate Circe (28-guns), then part of a squadron under Howe, and in which he captured the French corvette L'Espiegle.

Yorke next commanded the 32 gun fifth rate Stag from July 1794, and continued to serve in the Channel, occasionally ranging into the North Sea. On 22 August 1795 the Stag and a small British squadron captured the Batavian ship Alliance after a running fight. Yorke’s later commands include Canada (74-guns), Prince George (98- guns) and an 80-gun former Danish ship Christian VII. He was knighted in 1805 whence he took up a seat of the Board of the Admiralty. He was drowned in Stokes Bay 1831 when lightning struck and capsized his boat after a visit to Admiral Hotham’s flagship.