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Portrait of Captain Patrickson Braithwaite R.N.
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Portrait of Captain Patrickson Braithwaite R.N.

Circa 1790

Measurements: Oval, 24cm (9.5in) x 19cm (7.5in)



Oil on canvas. Circle of Francis Alleyne (active 1774-1790). In uniform, a telescope in his right hand. Fragments of an old manuscript label concerning the sitter applied verso. Overall: 34cm (13in) x 30.5cm (12in).

Captain Thomas Patrickson Braithwaite (1732-1794) was a scion of the Braithwaites of Briers in the county of Westmoreland and was commissioned Lieutenant R.N. in 1757. During the Seven Years War he rose to become Flag Lieutenant to Admiral Lord Howe. Such service would have included Howe’s series of naval descents on the French coast including the raids on Rochefort and St Malo, the battles of St Cast and possibly Quiberon Bay which forestalled a planned French invasion of Britain.

Braithwaite was later employed by the Falmouth packet service by which the King’s post, officials and cash were carried to and from the Iberian Peninsula and beyond with reduced risk from French Privateers operating in the Channel. The packet vessels were two or three masted 10-gun brigs. They were not primarily fighting ships, but were armed with anything from six 6-pounder cannon to ten 12-pounders and even carronades for defence rather than attack. In the 18th century commanders, officers and crew of the packet service were compelled to reside at nearby Flushing as a condition of service. Braithwaite commanded the packet named after his old chief, Howe, and made regular runs to Lisbon. He died at Flushing in 1790 and was buried nearby at Mylor. He had two daughters and two sons. The eldest son became a Lieutenant R.N. and settled in Australia where he died unmarried in about 1805, and the younger son, who was christened Howe, was reportedly at Lisbon during the Windsor Castle affair of 1824.

A certificate dated 11 July 1759 and issued by Lord Howe for the Lords of the Admiralty setting forth the service of Lieutenant Thomas Patrickson Braithwaite is held in the collection of the Boston Public Library (see Mariner’s Mirror - vols. 66-67, p.275).