1754 Milton, Cleveley, Canot Antique Plan View Portsmouth Dockyards, HMS Victory

Cartographer :John Cleveley

  • Title : A Geometrical Plan West Elevation of His Majestys Dock Yard Near Portsmouth with part of the Common...Thomas Milton Surv...Published according to the Act of Parliament April 29th 1754.
  • Size: 26in x 19 1/2in (660mm x 495mm)
  • Condition: (C) Fair Condition
  • Date : 1754
  • Ref #:  93115

This large original hand coloured copper plate engraved antique plan and view of His Majestys Dockyard Plymouth by the artist John Cleveley was engraved by the French engraver Pierre Charles Canot and published as one of six engravings in Thomas Milton\'s Royal Dockyards in 1754 - dated.
The plan/view has had some previous damage with the bottom left section 9in x 4in restored with loss to bottom corner, as well as a small section of the cartouche and margins. The plan has been mounted on contemporary heavy paper. Still a very nice piece despite the restoration.

The plan of the dockyards would have been undertaken by Canot whereas the views of the ship-yard is by John Cleveley the Elder. Several ships engraved around the decorative border including a listing HMS Victory at the top.

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Yellow, green, blue, pink
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 26in x 19 1/2in (660mm x 495mm)
Plate size: - 26in x 19 1/2in (660mm x 495mm)
Margins: - Min 1/2in (10mm)

Margins: - Bottom corner loss, small loss top right margin
Plate area: - Restoration left section 9in x 4in and small section of cartouche
Verso: - Mounted on contemporary heavy paper

One of a series of views of the six Royal Dockyards, which were by the mid-eighteenth century the world\'s largest industrial complex and the state\'s biggest investment. These engravings present the dockyards as orderly, efficient, and rational; each makes reference to the specific functions of the dockyard represented, which depended in part on location. When France replaced Holland as Britain\'s major rival in the late seventeenth century, Plymouth and Portsmouth became the more strategically significant yards, serving as naval bases and fleet rendezvous for campaigns in the Atlantic and the Channel respectively. Chatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth, where the fleets moored during the winter or while on reserve, became employed more in repairs than ship building. The cartouche on the left side of this print describes the content of the vignettes bordering the primary image. It is inscribed as follows: References to Eight of the Twelve Capital Ships taken from the French the 3rd of May and 17th of October 1747 as Drawn in the Border. Thus, rather than illustrating scenes in a ships “biography” (as is typical for other prints in this series), the ships shown in the vignettes bordering this print serve as a record of the activities of the dockyard at a particular moment.

Pierre-Charles Canot .1710–77 was a French engraver who spent most of his career in England.
Canot was born in France in about 1710. In 1740 he moved to England, where he lived there the rest of his life. He was elected an Associate Engraver of the Royal Academy in 1770, and died at Kentish Town, then just outside London, in 1777. He engraved a large number of landscapes, sea-pieces, and other subjects after artists including Jan van Goyen, Lorrain and Jean Pillement. Joseph Strutt believed that his best prints were some large plates of maritime subjects after the works of Richard Paton.

Cleveley, John 1712 - 1777
John Cleveley the Elder was an English marine artist. and was born in Southwark. He was not from an artistic background, and his father intended him to follow the family trade of joinery, so he set up as a carpenter or shipwright in around 1742 at the Deptford Dockyard. Continuing his work in that area throughout his life (indeed, he is referred to as ‘carpenter belonging to His Majesty’s Ship Victory, in the pay of His Majestys Navy’ in letters of administration granted by the Admiralty in 1778 to his widow, probably when she was first fitting out), from about 1745 he also worked as a painter, mostly ship portraits, dockyard scenes of shipbuilding and launches, and some other marine views. They combined his knowledge of shipbuilding with accurate architectural and topographical detail. Apparently mostly self-taught, it is possible that dockyard ship-painters also gave him some training in this area. He toured East Anglia, and produced some paintings from notes made on that trip.