The Death of Capt. Alexander Hood, who Gloriously Fell in the Moment of Victory on the 21st April last
[COOK: SECOND VOYAGE] NORTHCOTE, J. (after)
Price: 5,850.00 AUD
London: Jeffryes & Co, Ludgate Hill, 1 October, 1798. Handcoloured mezzotint measuring 554 x 655 mm. (plate size). Splendid mezzotint depicting the dramatic death of Alexander Hood, a Royal Navy captain who served under Captain Cook in his early career. This appears to be the only published image of Hood, making it an unusual addition to the known gallery of Cook's men. Hood was assigned to the Resolution on 5 March 1772 as a 14 year-old midshipman, taking advantage of his prestigious family connections (he was the first cousin of admirals Lord Hood and Lord Bridport). Hood served under Cook with distinction; during the three year voyage he was nearly crushed by a falling arms chest during a storm in 1773 and was first to sight land in the Marquesas on 6 April 1774. Accordingly, Cook named Hood Island in his honour of his sharp eyed midshipman.Upon return Hood was appointed to service in North American waters where he was promoted captain in 1781 at the age of 23. Hood fought against Napoleonic France, and this mezzotint portrays the his final moments as captain of the British man-of-war Mars. On the evening of 21 April 1798 the Mars ambushed the French frigate Hercule off western Brittany while waiting for the tide to turn. Both vessels were equally matched with 74 guns, and due to the strength of the current the Hercule was unable to manoeuvre. After the exchange of preliminary broadsides the ships became entangled, and an unusually bloody fire fight ensued. The French lost 315 men killed or wounded before surrender while the Mars sustained lighter casualties.Hood was grievously wounded in the thigh and died of blood loss (a detail conspicuously absent in this romantic portrayal of the commander's final moments). He is here pictured receiving the sword of the French captain who likewise died of his wounds, while a lieutenant points to the lowering of the French colours by moonlight through an open window behind the scene. Very good condition.