Home > Henry Roberts at Floors Castle

24 June, 1768

 

In 2003 I visited Floors Castle in Scotland to see the portrait of Henry Roberts.1

Roberts had sailed with Cook on the Second Voyage as an AB and on the Third Voyage as master's mate. His skills at drawing charts meant he prepared the ones for the official account of the last voyage. His painting of Resolution is often reproduced in books. He was made a lieutenant in 1780, a commander in 1790 and a captain in 1794.

Roberts was born in Shoreham, Sussex, in 1757 and died in 1796. CCS member Neil Luck2 is descended from Benjamin Roberts, one of Henry's brothers, who was born in 1765. Several CCS members attended the unveiling of a blue plaque in 2000 to commemorate Henry's life at Shoreham.3

Floors Castle was originally built in 1721 by John Ker, 1st Duke of Roxburghe and has been the residence of the family ever since. It has changed hugely since then, with roof alterations by the 2nd Duke, external remodelling by the 6th Duke and to accommodate major collecting by the 8th Duchess.

As Rowland Hall described in a previous article,4 the portrait of Captain Henry Roberts is in the ballroom. But, now it is on the left as you enter.

This portrait was painted by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) but we do not know when. It was purchased in 1911 by the American Ogden Goelet. His daughter Mary had married Henry Innes-Ker, 8th Duke of Roxburghe in New York in 1903. This beautiful American heiress brought to Floors her outstanding collection of fine art. In the 1930s she altered several rooms, including the ballroom.

Ian Boreham

References

  1. Cook's Log, page 315, vol. 7, no. 4 (1984)
  2. Cook's Log, page 1113, vol. 18, no. 1 (1995)
  3. Cook's Log, page 1771, vol. 23, no. 4 (2000)
  4. Cook's Log, page 966, vol. 16, no. 4 (1993)

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 16, volume 31, number 4 (2008).

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