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Midshipman Edward Riou1776

by Daniel Gardner

British artist Daniel Gardner was an assistant to Joshua Reynolds. This is the only known portrait of Edward Riou as a youth.  The 16-year-old midshipman was preparing to sail on James Cook’s third and final Pacific voyage. Riou was a witness to Cook’s death in Hawaii in 1779.

In 1789, Riou had command of the Guardian en route to New South Wales when it struck an iceberg. The loss of the ship, with its livestock and supplies, was one of the most traumatic events to befall the colony.

Riou died in 1801 at the Battle of Copenhagen and is memorialised in St Paul’s Cathedral, London. The portrait was acquired in its original, gilded, carved oak frame.