Portrait Miniature of Captain Parker Bingham, R.N., 1836
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Measurements: Overall: 15.5cm (6.25in) x 14cm (5.5in)
Half length portrait of Parker Bingham standing in 1833 Pattern naval coatee and wearing the breast badge of a Knight of the Portuguese Order of the Tower and Sword. Signed and dated lower right ‘Robelot / 1836 / Palais Royal 18’, for the Paris miniaturist Jean Pierre Robelot (1802-1850). Contained in modern gilt wood frame.
Captain Parker Duckworth Bingham, R.N. (1799-1850) was the scion of a distinguished naval family and the godson of Admiral Sir John Duckworth. Bingham entered the Navy at the age of twelve as First Class Volunteer aboard H.M.S. Egmont, 74-guns, then commanded by his father. As a Midshipman in Egmont he participated in operations in the Gironde River in 1814, where he witnessed the destruction of a French line-of-battle ship, three brigs of war, several smaller vessels, and of all the forts and batteries on the north side of the river.
In 1816, while serving in H.M.S. Albion, 74, he was present with the Anglo-Dutch squadron under Lord Exmouth in the anti-slavery operations against Algiers. During the bombardment of the fortifications he was wounded in the foot while serving in the mortar and rocket boats. Continuing in Albion, Bingham saved the lives of three men from drowning, twice at sea, and once in port, by jumping overboard after them. He passed his Lieutenant’s examination in 1818, but continued as a midshipman due to the reduction of the Navy in a number of ships including Vengeur, 74, under Captain William Frederick Maitland who famously took the surrender of Napoleon at Rochefort in July 1815.
Bingham was finally made Lieutenant on 28 April 1821 and was appointed to H.M.S. Myrmidon, 22, (Capt. Henry Leeke). on the coast of Africa. While employed in the boats, as First-Lieutenant, at the capture of two heavily armed slaver ships, Bingham was very severely wounded by grapeshot, which, entering the left side of his chest, passed along his arm as far as the elbow, and was not extracted for ten days. In consequence of his wound and exhaustion brought about by the fitting out the two captured ships, he suffered a severe attack of fever, and in December 1821, was invalided home.
On 20 March 1823, he was appointed to the Trafalgar veteran H.M.S. Revenge, 76, in the Mediterranean, then flying the flag of Sir Harry Neale as Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean. In December 1826 Sir Edward Codrington succeeded Neale, with Bingham as his Flag-Lieutenant. He was promoted out of H.M.S. Revenge in April, 1827, before quitting the Service altogether.
In the early 1830s Bingham entered foreign service as the commander of the Donna Maria (42-guns) in the small fleet of the ex-Emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro, who was attempting to install his daughter Dona Maria II, as the rightful Queen of Portugal in place of his brother Dom Miguel. He was praised by Trafalgar veteran Admiral George Sartorious commanding Her Faithful Majesty’s fleet, for his gallantry and enterprise during an engagement with a Miguelite squadron in September 1832. The admiral’s own poor performance in the engagement however caused a group of British seamen to state they would fight under Bingham but not the Admiral. Bingham did what he could to support Sartorious, but his efforts were not only ignored. Sartorious had him arrested on charges of theft and had him thrown into a prison full of murderers and thieves. Bingham was cleared of all charges by a subsequent Portuguese court martial and at the insistence of his friends published an account of his adventures as ‘A narrative of the naval part of the expedition to Portugal, and a vindication of himself against the aspersions of Vice-Admiral Sartorious’. For his services in Portugal, he was made made a Knight of the Tower and Sword.
In 1842, Bingham became an Inspecting Commander in H.M. Coast Guard. A sometime resident of Park Walk, Chelsea, he married twice and had one daughter.