To the Honourable Corporation of Trinity House, This Plate Engraved from a Portrait of Sir William James Bart. Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds in the Possession of the Corporation &c.

Tags: Military & Naval.
To the Honourable Corporation of Trinity House, This Plate Engraved from a Portrait of Sir William James Bart. Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds in the Possession of the Corporation &c.
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A fine, rare, three quarter length of Sir William James (1721-83), Commodore of the Bombay Marine. He stands directed to the left, wearing a finely brocaded coat and waistcoat, his sword by his side, holding a drawing of a seaport. In the background is a view of a rocky coast. Very unusually, James is said to have been the son of a miller, born in 1721 near Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, and to have run away to sea to avoid punishment for poaching. Other sources state that he was the son of an agricultural labourer. After various adventures he reached the West Indies, and in 1747 entered the service of the East India Company. After two years as chief mate, was appointed to command the Guardian, a ship of war belonging to the Bombay fleet, in which he was employed as senior officer of a small squadron protecting shipping and successfully defeating the pirate chief Angria at Severndroog, after a long and successful campaign. In 1759, having amassed a considerable fortune, both by prize-money and by trade, James returned to England, got married and purchased an estate near Eltham, a few miles from Blackheath. His wealth procured him a seat at the Board of Directors of the East India Company, and in July 1778 he was created a baronet. He was M.P. for West Looe in Cornwall, and Elder Brother and Deputy-Master of the Trinity House. He died of apoplexy on 16th Dec. 1783, in the midst of the festivities attending the marriage of his only daughter, Elizabeth Anne, to Thomas Boothby Parkyns, afterwards first Lord Rancliffe. This plate was probably published to mark his death.