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The Rugendas Letters:
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“ One of the Most Brilliant Sailors

of All the History ”

Drake – Houbraken, J(acobus). (Dordrecht 1698 – Amsterdam 1780). Sr Francis Drake. Half-length portrait in oval on a socle decorated with the representation of a naval action (2⅛ × 3⅜ in [5.5 × 8.5 cm]) along with rich maritime ornaments, among them crown with sharps formed by hulls, Neptune’s trident, oar and pennant, anchor, cannons and balls, and nautical instruments as telescope, globe, chart rolls, hour-glass and Jacob’s staff. Engraving. 14⅜ × 8⅞ in (36.4 × 22.6 cm).

Literature: Hans P. Kraus, Sir Francis Drake. A Pictorial Biography. Amsterdam 1970.

Splendid impression , rich of contrast ,

with slight plate dirt on especially wide-margined strong laid paper.

Houbraken, an “elegant, excellent engraver” (Wurzbach), is “the most important and most fertile portrait engraver of the 18th century” (Thieme-Becker). The sheet here probably from Thomas Birch’s Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain published in London 1743-52 :

“ … excellently engraved large folio sheets …

of outstanding art-historical interest ”


Vice admiral Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596), inextricably linked with the long fight between England and Spain for the predominance on the oceans, was one of the few commanders acting with independent determination as but 200 years after him again admiral Nelson :

“ Among England’s great captains, discoverers, and freebooters of this Elisabethan age from 1558 to 1603 Francis Drake, one of the most brilliant sailors of all the history, comes first. He was the most eminent among the ‘Merchant Adventurers’ … ”

(Lächler-Wirz, Schiffe der Völker, p. 344).

Here thus the chance

to incorporate the early famous naval hero into your own collection .

Offer no. 28,857 | EUR 670. | export price EUR 637. (c. US$ 770.) + shipping