Sir Francis Drake
By ?HARDING, Edward

[Sir Francis Drake]

Art & Architecture
  • Author: ?HARDING, Edward
  • Publication place: [London
  • Publisher: ?Edward Harding
  • Publication date: early 19th century].
  • Physical description: Engraved portrait.
  • Dimensions: 140 by 128mm (5.5 by 5 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 17909


The National Portrait Gallery attributes this portrait to Edward Harding (1755-1840), a prolific printmaker, bookseller and librarian to Queen Charlotte. Here Drake, looking remarkably like Crispin de Passe’s portrait of Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex, appears within a decorative mannerist strapwork cartouche, beneath which is small vignette of the English fleet singing the King of Spain’s beard, that is, attacking Cadiz, loosely based on Bartholomeus Willemsz. Dolendo’s rendering of the siege.

Sir Francis Drake (c1540-1596) was an English explorer, sea captain, privateer, and politician. Drake is best known for his circumnavigation of the world in a single expedition: leaving England on the 13th December 1577 with five ships, Drake returned almost three years later, his voyage having directly challenged Spain’s hegemony of the New World, at the same time that England was confronting her power over Europe. Drake also famously helped defeat the Armada in 1588.


  1. NPG D25415