George Engleheart (British, 1750/52-1829)
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more
George Engleheart (British, 1750/52-1829)

George Engleheart (British, 1750/52-1829)
Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald (1775-1860), British naval officer, in uniform
Signed with initial 'E' (lower right) and signed, dated and inscribed 'George Engleheart / Hertford Street / Mayfair / Pinxit / 1812' on the backing card
On ivory
Rectangular, 87 x 70 mm, in gilt-metal frame
With Ellison Fine Art, in 2014.
Special notice

Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.

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Peter Horwood
Peter Horwood

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Lot Essay

The sitter was the eldest son of Archibald Cochrane, 9th Earl of Dundonald (1748-1831) and his first wife Anne, née Gilchrist (1755-1784). The 9th Earl was an inventor and patented a number of inventions relating to steam-propelled ships and naval architecture, but he lost much of his fortune as a result of these scientific experiments. In Thomas Cochrane’s early life he was destined for a career in the British Army but, aged 17, he joined the Royal Navy and served on the HMS Hind, a ship commanded by his uncle, Captain Alexander Inglis Cochrane (1758-1832). He began a very successful naval career and by 1801, aged 25, he was promoted to Captain. During a period of peace he enrolled at the University of Edinburgh and studied political economy. By 1803 he was back at sea on board the Pallas and he had a successful mission fighting against the Spanish fleet. This was followed by a less successful expedition in the Bay of Biscay, during which he was reprimanded for his conduct. In 1806 Cochrane stood for election in the borough of Honiton and Devon. A notoriously corrupt seat, Cochrane paid his supporters 10 guineas each for their vote. Assuming they would receive a similar reward for their vote in the general election, he stood unopposed at the general election later that year. However, Cochrane failed to pay out. In 1807 he was elected M.P. for Westminster. He fought against government corruption, abuses in naval administration and for a reduction in the pay gap between wounded naval officers and seamen and salaries awarded to government ministers.
Needless to say, his outspoken views caused controversy and so he was ordered back to sea. He was a successful naval leader – strategic and unafraid to use unconventional methods to defeat his enemy. In 1809 he returned home and continued in his efforts to expose abuses in the navy. This led to further tension with his peers. In August 1812, the year the present portrait was painted, Cochrane secretly married Katherine Corbett Barnes (1796-1865), a 16 year-old orphan, despite his uncle’s efforts to see him married to a rich heiress.
In 1813 he accompanied his uncle, Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, to North America to fight in the Anglo-American War. Cochrane was implicated in a hoax claim that Napoleon had been killed and that the allied armies were advancing rapidly on Paris. The sudden rise and fall of government funds was exploited by Cochrane’s uncle, Andrew Cochrane-Johnstone and Thomas Cochrane was charged and sentenced to a year’s imprisonment and to pay a fine of £1,000. He was struck off the navy list, expelled from the House of Commons, and expelled from the chapel of the knight of the Bath, having been awarded the Order of the Bath in 1809. He escaped from prison but was recaptured and was eventually released in 1815, still proclaiming his innocence. He returned to the House of Commons and continued his opposition to the government, exposing their corruption and pushing for reform. The situation became so hostile that, in 1817, he accepted an invitation from the Chilean government to organize and command their fleet in their war of independence from Spain. Cochrane carried out a highly successful littoral campaign against the Spanish, who had predicted their defeat on the news that the leader of the Chilean naval forces was Cochrane. Despite his triumphant success, the Chilean government failed to pay him what he felt he should have been awarded. Putting their differences aside, Cochrane agreed to support the government of Chile in the liberation of Peru, and joined their expedition, led by General José de San Martín. After a challenging battle, Cochrane’s fleet won, and General José de San Martín proclaimed himself protector of Peru. He demanded that Cochrane and his men swear allegiance to the new republic in exchange for their wages. Cochrane refused, seized San Martín’s treasury and used it to pay his men and refit his ships. Returning to Chile almost 2 years later he received a warm welcome from most, but hostility from some jealous ministers for Cochrane’s naval conquest. Sensing more political tension, Cochrane left Chile a few months later. Having secured a reputation as a great naval leader, Cochrane received invitations from the governments of Brazil, Mexico and Greece to help secure their independence. In 1823 he went to Brazil, where he was appointed Admiral, and spent 18 months building their navy. After independence had been secured, Cochrane returned to England. In 1830 he was reinstated in the British Navy as Rear-Admiral and he was pardoned of previous charges, despite Cochrane’s insistence on an annulment of the charges. He is considered to be one of the most successful naval commanders in history and one of the few to have an international reputation. Described by Napoleon as ‘le loup des mers’ he was feared by his enemies and in great demand among those countries seeking independence in the early 19th century. In the last few years of his life he wrote his memoirs. He died in 1860 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. For more information about Cochrane, see A. Lambert, ‘Thomas Cochrane, tenth earl of Dundonald (1775-1860)’, The Online Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2019.
Engleheart's sitters lists includes, for the year 1803 'Hon. Capt. Cochrane'; for the year 1812 'Hon. A. Cochrane' and 'Sir Thomas Cochrane'. The Hon. Capt. Cochrane and the Hon. A. Cochrane most likely refer to the sitter's brother, Archibald Cochrane (1783-1829) who was a a Captain in the Navy. Sir Thomas John Cochrane (1789-1872), who became Admiral of the Fleet in the British Navy in 1865 and had blonde hair and blue eyes, was the present sitter's cousin. The 1812 portrait of Sir Thomas John Cochrane by Engleheart, signed with initial 'E' (lower right) was on loan to the National War Museum of Scotland, 1965-2004 and is now in a private collection in the US.

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