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Baron Jacques Felix Emmanuel Hamelin, 1837

Antoine Maurin

lithograph (sheet: 23.5 cm x 14.5 cm)

Baron Jacques Hamelin (1768-1839), French naval officer, began his sailing career at seventeen, making his first long voyage on a merchant marine ship to and from Angola. In 1792, at the beginning of the French Revolutionary Wars, he began his forty-one year career in the Napoleon's navy, engaging against squadrons in Oneglia, Cagliari and Nice. From 1793 to 1802 the French and English fought incessantly; Hamelin served on ascending rungs of office on the Proserpine, the Minerve, the Révolution (in which he took part in the failed Irish Rebellion against the English in 1796), the Fraternité and the Formidable. Between late 1800 and mid-1803, he was captain of the Naturaliste, accompanying Baudin on the Géographe in the race against the English to map and claim a port on the west coast of Australia. The Naturaliste was a bomb ship but Hamelin assisted Baudin in his mapping of the coast of Australia and New Guinea, spending a month investigating Van Deimen's Land at the beginning of 1802. On his return, Hamelin played a crucial role in equipping the French fleet with weapons to invade England. In later years, he enjoyed great triumphs over the British at Mauritius and created havoc amongst English vessels until his frigate Vénus was captured in 1810. Released upon intervention from Joseph Banks, he came home to a hero's welcome, was presented to Napoléon, made a baron, raised to the rank of rear-admiral and eventually made a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour. He served as general major of the navy, inspector general of marine crews and director of marine cartography before he died in Paris.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2011

Accession number: 2011.71

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Antoine Maurin (age 44 in 1837)

Baron Jacques Hamelin (age 69 in 1837)

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