The Death of Capt. Alexander Hood, who Gloriously Fell in the Moment of Victory on the 21st April last

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; he was the first to sight land in the Marquesas on 6 April 1774 and Cook named Hood Island in his honour. After the voyage Hood saw service in North American waters where he was promoted captain in 1781 at the age of 23. He fought against Napoleonic France, and this mezzotint shows his final moments as captain of the British man-of-war Mars when on 21 April 1798 the British ship ambushed the French frigate Hercule off western Brittany, an unusually bloody fire fight ensuing. The French lost 315 men killed or wounded before surrender while the Mars sustained lighter casualties. Hood, wounded in the thigh, died of blood loss (a detail rather absent in this romantic portrayal of the commander's final moments). He is 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.


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