The Collection

The Army and Navy

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ArtistJohn Prescott Knight (1803-1881)
Artist / EngraverSamuel William Reynolds (1773-1835)
TitleThe Army and Navy
MediumMezzotint and engraving
Dimensionsheight: 69.50 cm, width: 48.50 cm
AcquisitionPurchased from Parker Gallery, February 1979
LocationUK, London, Government Art Collection
GAC number14439

Other works by this artist

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"The Army and Navy"

Mezzotint and engraving

GAC 16815

The Army and NavyThe Army and Navy

Coloured mezzotint and engraving

GAC 17107

The Waterloo Heroes Assembled at Apsley House, 18 ...The Waterloo Heroes Assembled at Apsley House, 18 ...


1 October 1845

GAC 17896

The Peninsular Heroes Assembled at the United Serv...The Peninsular Heroes Assembled at the United Serv...


1 November 1847

GAC 17897

The Waterloo Heroes Assembled at Apsley HouseThe Waterloo Heroes Assembled at Apsley House


published 1 October 1845

GAC 18074

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The Duke of Wellington, depicted when he was Major-General Sir Arthur Wellesley, looks to the viewer with a slight smile as he stands beside Admiral Nelson, who indicates a position on a map and gazes into the distance. This print illustrates the one brief meeting between Britain’s two great commanders of the Napoleonic Wars. In September 1805 they waited together in a Whitehall ante-room for separate meetings with Lord Castlereagh, who was then Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. The younger Wellington initially found Nelson ‘vain and silly’, but the Admiral’s countenance changed after he left the room to check the identity of his companion. On his return the two men found common ground and Wellington later reported ‘…I don’t know that I ever had a conversation that interested me more’.

When the print was advertised for sale in ‘The Athenaeum’ in 1839, the text explained that Wellesley’s ‘…fame, though high amongst all those who knew anything of the concerns of that remote region [of India], had not yet become so familiar to the mass of society at home: consequently, the features now so familiar to all, were then so little known – even to Nelson…’

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This work contains the following Sitters; choose a link below to cross-refer to other works in the collection:

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Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

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John Prescott Knight

John Prescott Knight, portrait painter, was born in Stafford, son of the comedian Edward Knight. He initially worked as junior clerk for a West India merchant in London before studying drawing with Henry Sass and colouring with George Clint. In 1823, he entered the Royal Academy Schools. He painted several important figures of the Victorian age as well as large group portraits. Many of his works were engraved. In 1831, he married genre painter Clarissa Isabella Hague. He became a member of the Royal Academy in 1844 and later Professor of Perspective at the Academy Schools and Secretary of the Academy. In 1878, he was made a chevalier of the Légion d'honneur. Knight died in London aged 78 and was buried in Kensal Green cemetery.

Samuel William Reynolds

Samuel William Reynolds was a painter and engraver. Despite publishing his first prints in the mid-1790s, he found himself in debt by 1800 and came to rely upon the financial help of Samuel Whitbread MP. It was under Whitbread’s patronage that Reynolds was able to broaden his interests to include painting, architecture and landscape design. He exhibited paintings at the Royal Academy and British Institution and was also a collector; owning a group of drawings by Thomas Girtin. In 1809 he visited France for the first time and he went on to exhibit engravings at the Paris Salon in 1810 and 1812. Reynolds also worked in Paris on occasion, where he found a market for his paintings of landscapes and cottage scenes.