Attributed to Samuel Lane, 1780–1859
Portrait of Vice-Admiral The Honourable Sir Henry Hotham KCB, GCMG, 1777 – 1833
Vice -Admiral ,The Hon, Sir Henry Hotham KCB, GCMG
oil on canvas
14 x 14 cm. (5.3/4 x 5.3/4 in.)


Sir Henry Hotham, (1777–1833), naval officer, youngest son of Beaumont Hotham, second Baron Hotham (1737–1814), and his wife, Susanna (1737–1799), second daughter of Sir Thomas Hankey, and widow of James Norman, was born on 19 February 1777, and, after passing through the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth, entered the navy in 1790 on the Princess Royal, then carrying his uncle's flag. He afterwards served in the Lizard in the channel, and the Lapwing in the Mediterranean; in 1793 he was moved into the Victory, Lord Hood's flagship, and in her was present at the occupation of Toulon and the operations in Corsica. After the capture of Bastia in May 1794, he was promoted lieutenant of the Aigle on 6 June, with Captain Samuel Hood.

After the capture of Calvi he was moved again into the Victory, and, when Lord Hood went home, into the Britannia, the flagship of his uncle, who became commander-in-chief, and speedily promoted his nephew to command of the sloop La Flêche, taken at Bastia. On 13 January 1795 Hotham was posted to the frigate Mignonne (32 guns), taken at Calvi and promoted to Captain; but the Mignonne not being fit for service, he was permitted to join the Egmont as a volunteer, and in her was present in the action of 13 July off the Hyères. In September he was appointed to the Dido (28 guns), in which—as afterwards in the Blanche, Hotham was in command of Blanche on 5 February 1797 when she and Inconstant, Captain Thomas Fremantle, captured the ship Fortune of Philadelphia.[6] On 20 November 1797 he captured the French privateer brig Le Coureur, of 14 guns and 90 men, after a three-hour chase. On 27 December 1797, about 170 nmi (310 km; 200 mi) west of Porto, he captured the Bayonnois, a French privateer brig of six guns and 40 men, after a 16-hour chase. The brig had sailed from Bayonne 31 days previously and had made no captures. —he continued attached to the Mediterranean Fleet until towards the end of 1798, when he was sent home in charge of convoy. Blanche was paid off in August 1798, and Hotham was appointed to the frigate Immortalité in early 1800. He operated in the Bay of Biscay, taking several prizes. Late on the evening of 12 September 1800 he captured a small Spanish vessel laden with stone, but while boarding her observed two French privateer ships, Brave and Bellone coming out of the Gironde. He was obliged to scuttle the Spaniard to make chase. The French attempted to evade him during the night, but Hotham anticipated their movements, and was still following the next day. Unfortunately he lost them the second night, having pursued them for 259 miles. However, on 20 September, he recaptured the English ship Monarch, of 645 tons, laden with timber, which had been taken by Bellone four days earlier. On the 22 September, off Cordouan Lighthouse, he chased a French brig, and by 9.30 p.m., had come within musket-shot, when both vessels unexpectedly grounded near Noirmoutier. The brig was wrecked; but Immortalite refloated herself the next morning, suffering nothing more serious than the loss of an anchor, cable, and boat. On the morning of the next day, the 24th, he spotted the French letter of marque schooner Constance, carrying a cargo of coffee and sugar from Guadaloupe to Bordeaux, but the privateer lugger Cynthia from Guernsey, captured her before he could intervene.

On 26 October 1800 Immortalite, in company with Thames and Beaulieu, captured the French privateer Diable à Quatre, of 16 guns and 150 men, and on the 29th a letter of marque schooner, sailing from Guadaloupe to Bourdeaux, with a cargo of coffee. Hotham was also present in Immortalite at the capture of the French frigate Dédaigneuse on 27 January 1801. He then, on 14 April 1801, captured the French privateer brig Laure, of 14 guns and 78 men. She was 15 days out of St. Malo, and had captured a Portuguese vessel sailing Bristol to Lisbon, and had made 17 other captures in previous cruises. On 27 July, assisted by the presence of the frigate Arethusa, he captured the Invention, an unusual privateer designed and commanded by M. Thibaut. She was 147 feet (45 m) long, but only 27 feet (8.2 m) wide, with four masts, and carried 24 guns on a flush deck, and a crew of 210. She had sailed from Bordeaux nine days before on her first cruise. Towards the close of the war in 1802, the Immortalite was blockading the port of Brest.

On the renewal of the war in 1803 Hotham was appointed to the Impérieuse (40 guns), and in the following March was turned over to the Révolutionnaire (44 guns). and in the same year he recaptured a South Sea whaler, homeward bound in the Channel. On 1 December 1803 Imperieuse recaptured the ship Britannia, He was appointed to the frigate Revolutionnaire in April 1804, conveying Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex from Lisbon to Portsmouth in August. In September he escorted an outward bound East India fleet, before proceeding to Halifax.and on 4 November 1805 he assisted at the capture of four French ships by Sir Richard Strachan in the Battle of Cape Ortegal.[1]In her he was employed during the year on the coast of North America, but in 1805 was again on the home station, and on 4 November was with Sir Richard Strachan when he captured the small French squadron which had escaped from Trafalgar. In March 1806 Hotham was appointed to the Defiance (74 guns), ; In March 1806 Hotham took command of the 74-gun Defiance, in the squadron of Rear-Admiral Robert Stopford, and for many months commanded the squadron blockading Lorient. On 23 February 1809 Stopford's squadron fought three French frigates in the Battle of Les Sables-d'Olonne. The three French ships were anchored off the port under the protection of coastal batteries, but Defiance, Caesar and Donegal closed in, and fired on the French ships until forced to withdraw by the ebbing of the tide, damaging them to the extent the one was subsequently broken up, and the other two declared unfit for naval service and sold. Defiance was much cut up and had two men killed and 25 wounded. In 1807, Hotham was employed on the coast of Spain, co-operating with Spanish forces. On 24 June, shortly after the French withdrawal from the north-western ports of Ferrol and Corunna, Hotham landed a detachment of seamen and marines to destroy various batteries commanding the bay, and also captured the castle of San Felipe, still under the command of French sympathizers.On 23 December 1809 Defiance recaptured the ship Ellison from the French. On 1 June 1810 he captured the French chasse-marées Syrene, Eugene, and St. Yves.

in 1808 he had command of the squadron employed on the north coast of Spain, and on 24 February 1809 was with Rear-Admiral Stopford in the Bay of Biscay, when he drove ashore three French frigates from the roadstead of Les Sables d'Olonne. During the rest of the year, and the early part of 1810 Hotham continued in the Defiance, employed in the Bay of Biscay, and on the coast of Spain. In August 1810 he was moved into the Northumberland (74 guns), and again employed off Brest, Lorient, and Rochefort. On 5 November 1810 he recaptured the Zodiac, and on the 9th captured the Venus. On 22 November 1810, he captured the French privateer ketch Glaneuse, of 14 guns and 85 men, after a two-day pursuit, after preventing her from capturing a British packet ship. On 4 April 1811 he destroyed two chasse-marées, but not before removing 63 casks of wine from them.In 1812 Hotham was serving under Rear-Admiral Sir Harry Neale off Ushant, and was sent by him to cruise off l'Orient, to intercept three expected French vessels. In the ensuing action on 22 May Northumberland, assisted by the gun-brig Growler, encountered the French frigates Ariane and Andromaque, both of 44 guns and 450 men, and the brig Mameluke, of 18 guns and 150 men, near the island of Groix. Hotham skilfully manoeuvred his ship so as to force the enemy to ground themselves. Northumberland then opened a steady fire at point-blank range until the ships were abandoned and burning.

During this long service Hotham and Mr Stewart, the master of the Northumberland, acquired an intimate knowledge of the French coast, which proved all-important when in May 1812 he was specially detached from the fleet to look out for two frigates and a brig, which had been for several months the scourge of British commerce in the Atlantic, especially off the Azores. On 22 May they were sighted by the Northumberland some 10 miles to the south of Île de Groix, sailing for the port of Lorient. Hotham, by a piece of brilliant seamanship, aided by his knowledge of the pilotage, not only prevented their gaining the port, but drove them on shore, and, anchoring near them, succeeded in destroying the two frigates; the brig was afterwards floated off and taken into the harbour. It was a service praised by Lord Keith for the courage, skill, and extraordinary management of all concerned. Hotham's application helped to promote improved gunnery.

In December 1812 Hotham was appointed Captain of the Fleet to Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren on the North American Station. On 4 December 1813, he was promoted to rear-admiral,and nominated a Colonel of Marines. From 4 June 1814 he served under Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane.On 17 December 1814, he submitted to the Admiralty a list of 82 American vessels captured, burnt, and destroyed by his squadron between 6 August and 9 October 1814.This does not include the frigate USS President, captured by four ships of his squadron on 15 January 1815.

In 1813 Hotham was appointed captain of the fleet on the North America and West Indies station, with Sir John Warren, and afterwards with Sir Alexander Cochrane; towards the end of the year he hoisted a broad pennant on the Superb as second in command on the station. On 4 June 1814 he was advanced to flag rank, and on 2 January 1815 was nominated a KCB. On his return to England, just as war again broke out, he was appointed to command a squadron in the Bay of Biscay, and it was mainly through his knowledge of the station that Bonaparte's idea of escaping to America was rendered impossible. Following Napoleon's return from Elba in March 1815, Hotham commanded a division of the Channel Fleet, flying his flag in Superb. In July 1815 Hotham was stationed in Quiberon Bay, from where he sent Captain Frederick Maitland in Bellerophon to blockade the port of Rochefort. Reinforced by Myrmidon and Slaney, Maitland prevented Napoleon from fleeing to the United States, and took him to England, from where he was sent to his final exile in Saint HelenaThe Bellerophon, which received Bonaparte's surrender, was acting under his orders. On 31 August 1815 he struck his flag.

Hotham married, on 6 July 1816, Lady Frances Anne Juliana Rous (d. 31 Jan 1859), eldest daughter of the first earl of Stradbroke; they had three sons.

Reverend Henry John Hotham (1822–1885), Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge
Reverend Frederick Harry Hotham (1824–1887), Rector of Rushbury, Shrewsbury
Captain Beaumont Williams Hotham (1825–1915), HM Consul at Calais 1859–1882

From March 1818 to March 1822, and again from 1828 to 1830, Hotham was a lord of the Admiralty. Although a tory he was offered a seat on the whig board of 1830, but refused to serve under Sir Thomas Hardy, a junior officer. He became a vice-admiral in May 1825, and in January 1831 was appointed commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean. One of Hotham's more notable acts as Commander-in-Chief was claiming a new territory for Britain. In July 1831 Commander Charles Henry Swinburne of Rapid reported a volcanic eruption and a column of vapour rising from the sea, some 26 miles off Sciacca, Sicily. Within a month it had grown into a roughly circular island of black volcanic sand about 3 miles (4.8 km) in circumference, and 74 feet (23 m) above sea level at its highest point. Hotham, in his flagship St Vincent, sailed to the new island and on 1 August sent his flag-captain Humphrey Fleming Senhouse ashore with a landing party to raise the Union Flag, and claim the island for Britain under the name "Graham Island", after the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir James Graham. Later the Sicilians also landed, hoisted a flag, and claimed the island under the name "Ferdinandea", after King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies. The French made a claim to the island under the name "Julia", as did the Spanish. Diplomatic arguments continued until December 1831, by which time the island had been washed away leaving only a seamount 26 feet (7.9 m) below the waves.

After a two days' illness, he died at Malta on 19 April 1833, and was buried at Msida Bastion Cemetery in Floriana on 24 April. A monument to his memory was erected on the baracca by a subscription among the officers on the station. An officer with a genius for coastal operations and onshore navigation, Hotham was one of the captains who transformed the Royal Navy from a sea-control fleet into a power-projection force.

J. K. Laughton, revised by Andrew Lambert DNB

6.6.1794 Lieutenant CSORN
9.1794-1795 Mignonne (32), Commander and Commanding Officer BWAS-1793
13.1.1795 Captain CSORN
7.17957.1797 Dido (28), Captain and Commanding Officer BWAS-1714
1797-1799 Blanche (32), Captain and Commanding Officer BWAS-1793
1.1800 5.1802 Immortalite (42), Captain and Commanding Officer BWAS-1793
26.1.1801-28.1.1801 Capture of the Dédaigneuse
4.1804 2.1806 Revolutionaire (36), Captain and Commanding Officer BWAS-1793
4.11.1805 Battle of Cape Ortegal
3.1806-1810 Defiance (74), Captain and Commanding Officer BWAS-1714
27.2.1809 Action at Sables d'Olonne
1810-1813 Northumberland (74), Captain and Commanding Officer BWAS-1793
22.5.1812 Action off Lorient
4.6.1814 Rear-Admiral of the White CSORN
4.6.1814 4.1815 Superb (74), as Flag Officer, Rear-Admiral of the White BWAS-1793
2.1.1815 Created 1st Knight Commander of the Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath TKE1
2.1831-1834 Saint Vincent (120), as Flag Officer, Vice-Admiral BWAS-1793
30.3.1831-19.4.1833 Appointed Commander-in-Chief — The Mediterranean SeaEWIKI

Artist biography

Samuel Lane,  (1780–1859), portrait painter, was born on 26 July 1780 at King's Lynn, Norfolk, the oldest of the five children of Samuel Lane (1749–1835), collector of taxes, and his wife, Elizabeth (1753–1832), daughter of the Revd Anthony Mayhew. At the age of seven he became deaf following an accident, said to be a fall into the river mud near his home in Purfleet Street. As a result he was never able to speak distinctly. He later went to London, where he studied under Joseph Farington for three years, and on 21 June 1800 at the age of twenty he was admitted to the Royal Academy Schools and became a pupil of Thomas Lawrence. From about 1802 he was employed by Lawrence as a studio assistant, although the arrangement was not without problems: 'I go on badly with Mr Lawrence. He does not employ me in a regular way, & I lose much time in consequence of his being undetermined how to employ me' (FaringtonDiary, 7.2751, 7 May 1806). Despite this, he remained with Lawrence for several years and at his death in 1830 Lane completed portraits left unfinished in his studio.

For most of his career Lane remained in London, living at 60 Greek Street, Soho. He contributed over 200 portraits to the Royal Academy, exhibiting almost every year between 1804 and 1857. In 1805 he received the freedom of King's Lynn after presenting to the corporation a portrait of George III, copied from the original portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds. He exhibited with the Norwich Society of Artists between 1819 and 1829 and in London with the British Institution in 1819 and the Society (later Royal Society) of British Artists in 1832. Lane's honest, if somewhat prosaic, likenesses attracted numerous commissions. He had a wide range of sitters. They ranged from the distinguished, such as Robert Southey (1824; Balliol College, Oxford), and the exotic, Ráden Rána Dipura, a Javanese chief who accompanied Sir R. S. Raffles to England (exh. RA, 1818), to the infant son of Mr and Mrs Bartley of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (exh. RA, 1826). Several of the portraits were for presentation, for example a portrait of Luke Hansard (Palace of Westminster, London) painted in 1828 for the Stationers' Company and another of Thomas William Coke MP (priv. coll.) painted in 1832 for the Norwich Corn Exchange. Many were engraved by other artists. Lane retained his links with his native Norfolk, and carried out commissions for several wealthy families in the area. One of his sitters, the Revd Thomas Hankinson of King's Lynn, wrote in 1838 that he communicated with Lane in 'finger-talk'. He continued: 'I like Lane very much, and were it not for his unfortunate infirmity should hold a good deal of interesting talk with him' (Samuel Lane Centenary). Lane married three times. His first wife was Eliza (1802–1831), daughter of Samuel Lillistone, merchant, of Beccles, Suffolk; they married at Barsham, Suffolk, on 3 September 1829. She died following the birth of their son in London in June 1831. Lane married, second, at St Pancras, on 3 March 1835, Catherine Jane (1803–1839), daughter of Thomas Powys. Their son Horatio Powys Lane (1836–1884) was later commissioned in the Madras Infantry and was the subject of a portrait by Lane (exh. RA, 1856). They also had two daughters. He married, third, at Petworth, Sussex, on 4 February 1840, Elizabeth (b. 1800/01), daughter of Charles Murray. In 1853 he moved to Ipswich, where he died on 29 July 1859 at his home at 2 Paragon's Buildings, Lower Brook Street. He was buried in Ipswich cemetery, and was survived by his third wife.   

  • Norma Watt  DNB