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 The Hon. Charles Phipps 
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Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2002 9:02 am
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Location: Cambridgeshire, England
Post The Hon. Charles Phipps
The Times, October 27th, 1786:

" ...... On Friday last died, at Mulgrave-hall, in the 32nd year of his age, the Honourable Charles Phipps, next brother to Lord Mulgrave. He was a Captain in the Royal Navy. ...."

To put a face to the name.

- Mil -
aka Mary ....

Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:30 pm
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Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:05 pm
Posts: 62
Post Re: The Hon. Charles Phipps
Mary -- FYI

The NMM description of the painting states (in part):
It was originally painted on paper board (made of compressed sheets of good quality paper). Later, perhaps in the early 20th century, this was stuck onto a canvas stretcher using water-based glue. This process caused considerable damage to the board and to the paint surface. Probably at this point much of the background paint was scraped off, and the whole portrait heavily overpainted to create a more acceptable image. In 2006 the overpaint was removed revealing a portrait more like Gainsborough than Dupont, closely relating in both pose and scale to existing portraits of Phipps by Gainsborough. What is interesting is that in this ‘sketch’ or ‘study’, Phipps appears younger and less care worn than in the completed portraits, although for some reason the flesh tone has a pronounced raw quality. One might speculate that it may have been painted when Phipps became a captain in 1776.

I opine that 1776 is too early for the painting to have been executed; however, like the famous portrait of the young Horatio Nelson painted by John Francis Rigaud, it may have been started before 1776 but completed later.

Alas, tracing the service of the Hon. Charles Phipps becomes a convoluted yarn.

Per Syrett & DiNardo, the Hon. Charles Phipps had been commissioned a Lieutenant on 19 Jan 1771 but his service during the American War of Independence commenced with his commission on 05 Feb 1776 as Lieutenant, Strombolo, Fireship [ex-Grampus, brig-rigged, 45 men, 270 tons], being recommissioned after five years in Ordinary under the command of [aged] Master & Commander (M&C) William Shackerly [date of seniority: 04 Nov 1744]. Shackerly would then be commissioned to fit out the new Spy, Sloop, on 10 Apr 1776, so “Per Order” Phipps commanded Strombolo in Commodore Hotham’s convoy escorting the Hessian troops which departed Spithead on 06 May 1776 bound for New York. On 10 May 1776, four days after the departure of Strombolo Admiralty commissioned Phipps as Master & Commander of Strombolo with Samuel Wittewronge Clayton commissioned as Lieutenant.

On 01 Aug 1776 Admiralty promoted/commissioned Phipps as Captain, HMS Camilla, 6th rate/20 guns, (then fitting out at Plymouth), promoted/commissioned Chadwick Lyndon as Lieutenant, Camilla, and promoted/commissioned Clayton as M&C, Strombolo, Fireship (then in a convoy at sea a fortnight before arrival in New York), but ordered Clayton to command Camilla on the voyage to New York. Camilla sailed from Plymouth on 08 Aug 1776 but put back in, then sailed again on 20 Aug 1776, with orders to cruise off Bermuda for one month before continuing to New York where Camilla arrived on 02 Dec 1776 at which time Phipps would have taken command of Camilla.

On 08 Dec 1776, Roebuck (44), Camilla (20), and Perseus (20) and Falcon, Sloop (with Pearl (32) to join), sailed to take station off the Delaware Capes, with orders to proceed thereafter to Antigua to careen, refit and re-provision. Camilla arrived at Antigua on 21 Feb 1777, whereupon Vice Admiral James Young (C-in-C, Leeward Islands) transferred/commissioned Phipps to command Perseus because Captain Thomas Wilkinson, Pearl had died. Young moved Hon. George Keith Elphinstone from Perseus to Pearl, Phipps from Camilla to Perseus, promoted John Linzee to Captain Camilla from M&C, Falcon, Sloop, and promoted Lieutenant Hon. Thomas Windsor from Young’s flagship to M&C Falcon, Sloop. Lord Howe took great exception to Young’s actions concerning Howe’s ships and proceeded to undo them all.

Phipps finally rejoined Camilla on 21 May 1777 while on station off Cape May. The winter of 1777-78, Camilla was one of the ships remaining at Philadelphia and serving as guardships. Meanwhile, Lord Howe had sailed for Rhode Island for the winter.

Next, HMS Ariel (a new Sphynx-class sister-ship to both Perseus and Camilla) arrived at New York on 30 Jan 1778 under the command of her Lieutenant George Brisac, Captain John Jackson having died at sea on 26 Nov 1777. Lord Howe then transferred/commissioned Phipps to command Ariel with John Collins promoted from M&C Nautilus, Sloop, to Captain Camilla and Lieutenant John Beecher of the St Albans (64) promoted M&C Nautilus, Sloop; however, given the locations of the ships, Beecher took acting command of Ariel until 28 Apr 1778 when Phipps & Beecher exchanged commands (with Collins & Beecher exchanging commands on 24 May 1778).

After Rear Admiral James Gambier had superseded Lord Howe in command in America, with Gambier’s permission, on 25 Sep 1778 Phipps exchanged commands with Captain Thomas Mackenzie, HMS Lizard (28) as Lizard was returning to England for repairs. Phipps (Lizard) sailed 27 Nov 1778 and arrived at Spithead on 20 Dec 1778.

Phipps then had about three months off-duty until re-commissioned 24 Mar 1779 to command Ambuscade (32), serving in the Western Squadron until ca. July 1780 when he took command of the newly commissioned Monsieur, a French prize of 36 guns, serving in the Western Squadron to ca. Mar 1782 when he took command of Berwick (74) serving in the Western Squadron and relief of Gibraltar before going to the Leeward Islands and returning to pay off 30 June 1783. There was a period ca. May-July 1782 when Samuel Osborne apparently served as acting Captain, Berwick.

The most likely periods when the painting could have been finished would have been between 20 Dec 1778 and 24 Mar 1779, possibly ca. June 1782, or following the end of his active naval career (after 30 June 1783).

Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:40 pm
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