Sir Francis Drake

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Description:

After a painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller. Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain, Knapton, London, 1734-1752

Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596), Admiral and circumnavigator. The most famous of all English seafarers, Drake earned his fame and fortune through his skillful seamanship and outstandingly successful piracy. His circumnavigation of the globe from 1577-81 involved a number of very profitable raids on Spanish ships and ports. Drake's increasingly frequent and serious attacks during the 1580s were an important factor contributing to Philips II's decision to launch the Armada against England in 1588. Drake served as vice-admiral of the English fleet which defeated the Armada.

Jacobus Houbraken was a Dutch engraver, who was born in Dordrecht. He learned the art of engraving from his father, Arnold Houbraken (1660-1719), and devoted himself almost entirely to portraiture. His work became famous through his collaboration with the historian Thomas Birch and artist George Vertue, on the project entitled, Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain, published in parts in London from 1743 to 1752, and from which our plates come.

His oeuvre of more than 400 portrait engravings form an important record for art provenance.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Jacobus Houbraken.
Biographical sketches of subjects are from The National Portrait Gallery, UK.



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