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Portrait of Robert Stopford
English: A half-length portrait to the left, in a painted oval, wearing captain's full-dress uniform, 1787-95. He was promoted to captain at the age of 22 and fought at the Battle of the Glorious First of June in 1794. He received a gold medal for his conduct at the Battle of San Domingo in 1806, took part in the Rio and Copenhagen expeditions of 1806-07, attacked Rochefort in 1808, was Commander-in-Chief at the Cape of Good Hope in 1808 and reduced Java in 1811. His last active post was as commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean fleet and he was present at the Bombardment of Acre in 1841. From that year until his death he was Governor of Greenwich Hospital, in the rank of Admiral.
The artist trained as a lawyer before entering the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 1772 where he may have studied with Johan Zoffany. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1776, and throughout his career, he produced competent portraits since he had no shortage of clients. In 1793, he was named portrait painter to Queen Charlotte and undertook a number of royal commissions. His straightforward style perfectly suited the stolid and conventional taste of the Royal family. In 1795, John Opie described Beechey's pictures as 'of that mediocre quality as to taste & fashion, that they seemed only fit for sea captains & merchants'.
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