same in green below
Thomas Brodrick
[Midleton]

The Algerine Pirates


Wm.Vanderveld Pinx.     Fight against seven Algerines by Capt. Kempthorne.     E:Kirkall Fecit

Michael Robinson, in The Paintings of the Willem van de Veldes, Vol II, page 235, has this to say about Thomas Brod(e)rick, or more properly, his family:

"It was Alan Brodrick (1702-47) who succeeded his father as second Viscount Midleton, 29 August, 1728. In October he succeeded his uncle, the Rt. Hon. Thomas Brodrick in the family estates of Midleton, Co. Cork; Wandsworth; Surrey and others; as well as in the picture representation of the family (GEC)." Robinson omits to give the year of Thomas Brodrick's death, and initally I assumed it was 1728. Burke's Peerage says that Thomas Brodrick was the elder brother, and died in 1730. See below.

Sketchy excerpt from Debrett's Peerage, 1805, Vol II. Compare Burke, 1949, below.

From the rest of Robinson's entry it is virtually certain that a painting owned by the Brodricks, and sold by the 10th Earl of Midleton at Christie's, 12 May 1967, lot 53, is the original for Kirkall's mezzotint.

It is relevant to add to this, however, that the first Viscount Midleton, who had been successively Solicitor-General, Attorney General, Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor of Ireland, died at his estate in County Cork, in 1728; and that his residence at that time was Ballyannon Castle, which had been the seat of his forebears since 1653; although by this time he also owned Peper Harow, near Godalming, in Sussex, which he had bought in 1713. Of Ballyannon Castle, more anon. Burke's spells it Ballyanan.

It is possible that Thomas Brodrick, picture collector (he owned at least one painting, in any case), was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1655; and that he married a lady called Sarah in 1680, also in Dublin. This is according to the IGI of the LDS. However, Burke's Peerage, see below, says he was born in 1654, and married Anne. It could still be the same man.

Because of what looks like a curious addition to the original inscription (imprecisely, and almost certainly inaccurately) identifying the action, on the mezzotint after the painting in Thomas Brodrick's collection, the composition is speculated on here; and here. Unless, of course, another mezzotint can be found without the fight identification, in its dissimilar script, too much cannot be asserted about it. Speculation is permissible.

My present surmise is this: that the painting, very likely by van de Velde the Younger, described by Robinson on page 234, Vol I, is the original depiction of the battle on which the mezzotint is based. Robinson devotes pages 217 to 246 to "unidentified battles", of which this is one. He seems confident that this composition, undated and unsigned, is neither the Mary Rose action, 1669, nor the Kingfisher action, 1681. The mezzotint nevertheless explicitly links the name of Kempthorne with the painting, without specifying either Captain John (1669) or his son Captain Morgan (1681).

Here follows what, to my mind, is a very probable sequence of events. It is becoming more and more evident to me that Monamy worked in fairly close collaboration both with Elisha Kirkall, who produced other mezzotints directly after his work, and with the remnants of the van de Velde shop. His links with the surviving third generation of the van de Veldes, Willem, Pieter and Cornelius, as well as a so far unnamed daughter who painted, may have begun perhaps as early as about 1710. It is not impossible that between about 1716 and 1720 Monamy, like Charles Brooking the Elder, and van der Hagen (either Johan or Willem, or both), was active in Ireland, specifically in Cork. In about 1725 Kirkall launched his very profitable series of mezzotints, which were all presented to the punters as van de Veldes. One of these, belonging to Thomas Brodrick, was said to be of an action by the English against the Algerines.

This proved to be a very popular subject: which I believe re-inforces my suspicion that the identification of this battle-piece with Captain Kempthorne's exploit was an afterthought by Kirkall, who was fond of cash. The story was so much relished by the punters that at least eight versions of Brodrick's picture were produced. One of these, signed Monamy, and dated 1734/36 is now in the NMM. The sequence of compositions is shown below. Unfortunately, Monamy's is only a poor painting, by a slavish copyist. Digital reproduction dismally fails to do justice to fine art.

There is another, more spectacular, painting also attributed to van de Velde, located over the fireplace in the Duke's closet at Ham House. See Robinson, Vol I, page 227, where it is entitled An Action between an English Ship and Barbary Ships and Galleys. It was inventoried in 1683, so it must be ascribed to the Younger, although, since it has faults (see Robinson), they were no doubt perpetrated by his assistants. It should perhaps here be noted that the third Willem van de Velde, son of the Younger, was born 1667, according to Hofstede de Groot. He could hardly have had a hand in the Ham House picture, of course.

A couple of years after he had produced his wretched daub, Monamy, no doubt with the support of a young William Hogarth (or could it have been vice versa?), was graciously favoured with the opportunity to provide embellishments for Vauxhall Gardens, which re-opened in 1736. The Gardens were conceived as a showplace for the spirit of England. He decided to produce a marginally less slavish emulation of another van de Velde, representing another English seventeenth century triumph in the Mediterranean; and settled on the Ham House decoration. Perhaps he felt it would be more appropriate to follow tradition in these patriotic circumstances, rather than make up something completely fanciful.

Above is the engraving by Fourdrinier after the lost Vauxhall Gardens picture.
It is naturally in reverse. The inscription is accurate in its restraint.


Above is the Mary Rose action, 1669, by the Younger van de Velde.
This would have been derived from Hollar's eye-witness etching.


Extracted from Burke's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage, 1949.

A note in the archives of the Hunt Museum, Dublin, records that one of the midshipmen aboard Vernon's flagship at the Capture of Porto Bello in 1739 was a cousin of the 2nd Viscount Midleton. Difficult to tell from the entry in Burke who this might have been: however, a third Lieutenant, Mr Broderick, is mentioned in a letter describing the capture of Porto Bello published in the Gentleman's Magazine, June 1740. Portobello is still an urban district in Edinburgh, as well as in London and Dublin.


acknowledgement to sellar and yeatman and john reynolds, gent

The Romans first with Julius Caesar came,
-------
And Conqu'ring William brought the Normans o're.
All these their Barb'rous Offspring left behind,
The Dregs of Armies, they of all Mankind;
Blended with Britains who before were here,
Of whom the Welsh ha' blest the Character.
From this Amphibious Ill-born Mob began
That vain ill-natur'd thing, an Englishman.

Daniel Defoe: The True-Born Englishman, 1701.

The Royal Refugee our Breed restores,
With Foreign Courtiers, and with Foreign Whores:
And carefully repeopled us again,
Throughout his Lazy, Long, Lascivious Reign
-------
Six Bastard Dukes survive his Luscious Reign,
The Labours of Italian Castlemain,
French Portsmouth, Tabby Scot, and Cambrian
-------

Daniel Defoe: The True-Born Englishman, 1701.

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