Skip to main content

Rear-Admiral Sir George Cockburn

John James Halls, 1776 - 1834
Sir George Cockburn, 1772 - 1853
c. 1817
Oil on canvas
238.8 x 148.6cm (94 x 58 1/2")
Frame: 268.3 x 176.5 x 11cm (105 5/8 x 69 1/2 x 4 5/16")
Credit Line
Owner: National Maritime Museum, London
This record is part of the Catalog of American Portraits, a research archive of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Please direct any inquiries to the portrait owner (if available under Credit Line) or For inquiries concerning the reproduction of images, contact the Rights and Reproductions Office of the owning institution. Images of portraits in private collections may not be reproduced without permission of the owner. The Catalog of American Portraits does not maintain current contact information for these individuals.
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK
Object number
Exhibition Label
Sir George Cockburn went to sea as a boy, rose through the ranks to rear admiral, and was entrusted to guard Napoleon in captivity. However his greatest moment of glory, which he chose for this portrait, was the burning of Washington on August 24–25, 1814. Although a naval officer and therefore not in command on land, Cockburn was the driving force behind the operation, encouraging Major General Robert Ross to take the capital. While Cockburn respected Ross’s prohibition on the destruction of private property, he made a notable exception in his personal vendetta against the National Intelligencer. An avid reader of American newspapers, Cockburn considered the Intelligencer to be the voice of the Madison administration and its profiles of him particularly unflattering. He ordered its offices destroyed, paying particular attention that all the C’s from the type case were destroyed.
Data Source
Catalog of American Portraits
See more items in
Catalog of American Portraits