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Print made by Pierre Charles Canot, ca. 1710–1777
after Thomas Milton, active 1739–1756
shipping scene after John Cleveley the elder, ca. 1712–1777

Geometrical Plan of his Majesty's Dockyard, near Plymouth

Materials & Techniques:
Line engraving on medium, moderately textured, cream laid paper mounted on laid paper
Sheet: 22 1/16 × 28 13/16 inches (56 × 73.2 cm), Image: 18 3/4 × 25 5/8 inches (47.6 × 65.1 cm)

Lettered within image, upper center: "A Geometrical Plan, & Weft Elevation | of His Majesty's Dock Yard, near | Plymouth with the Ordnance Wharfe, & c."; center left: extensive inscriptions of references to the plan; center: extensive inscriptions; center right: extensive inscriptions of references to the plan; lower center: "Part of the Harbour Hamouze"; below: "To the Rt,, Honble,, George Parker, Earl of Macclesfield | Vifcount Parker and Prefident of the Royal Society &c | This Plate is infrib'd by his Lordship's moft obedt,, Servant | Tho. Milton."; below, left: "T. Milton Surv. et delin. According to Act of Parliament"; right: "February 2d. 1756. Shipping by I. Cleveley P.C. Canot Sculp"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
angel | cannons | cartographic material | cherubs | coats of arms | dockyard | fires | flags | longboats | marine art | pulling boats | rigging | sailboats | sails | smoke | town | Union Jack
Associated Places:
Devon | England | Hamoaze | Plymouth | United Kingdom
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
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IIIF Manifest:

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 shipbuilding. Depicted on the swag here is a device formed by a compass, right angle, protractor, and plumb line, the legs of the compass measuring the length of a ship plan in elevation, and the whole a reference to the tools of the shipwright’s trade. The vignette set into the headpiece shows a naval engagement, while the eight surrounding vignettes depict ships undergoing maneuvers (“About ship,” “Haul maintopsail,” “Flying to windward close hauled”) and disasters (“Breaking up,” “Blown up,” “Burnt to the water’s edge,” “Taken all aback”).

Gallery label for Spreading Canvas - Eighteenth-Century British Marine Painting (Yale Center for British Art, 2016-09-09 - 2016-12-04)

Spreading Canvas - Eighteenth - Century British Marine Painting (Yale Center for British Art, 2016-09-09 - 2016-12-04) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

Laura Beach, Spreading Canvas : Eighteenth-Centry British Marine Painting, Antiques and the Arts Weekly, vol. 48, Bee Publishing Company, Newtown, November 4, 2016, p. 31, Vertical File V 2718 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Eleanor Hughes, Spreading Canvas : Eighteenth-Century British Marine Painting, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2016, pp. 207, 209-12, cat. 68, no. 68, ND 1373.G74 S67 2016 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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