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Captain C. Lempriere (died 1846), draughtsman to the Office of Ordnance

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, engraved)

  • Date:

    1745 (engraved)
    1735 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Faber, John the younger (mezzotinter)
    Frye, Thomas (painter)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Mezzotint engraving print on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Public Library and Museum, Hove

  • Museum number:

    E.18-1965

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, case EM, shelf 21, box A

This print was one of 13 objects investigated in 2019 as part of ‘Gendering Interpretations’: a collaborative project between the V&A, University of Plymouth, Vasa Museum (Stockholm), Lund University, Leiden University and the University of Western Australia.

As part of Captain Clement Lempriere’s role as a mapmaker, he contributed to the Map of the British Empire in North America published in 1733 by Henry Popple. The images on this map use gender presentation to represent Native Americans as exotic, uncivilised and sexualised: bare-breasted, scantily clad Native American women are contrasted with European men in eighteenth-century masculine dress. British colonial administrators used commercial maps such as Lempriere and Popples to understand the shape of their colonies, meaning that Lempriere’s work impacted on the colonial process that reshaped gender dynamics in indigenous societies and entailed the imposition of European gender roles, hierarchies and binaries. For examples of this, see objects 584-1854 (snuff box) and T.145&A-1931 (pair of gloves). The map-printing technologies that made Lempriere’s job possible were also used to create parody ‘maps’ of women’s bodies and male/female relationships.

An image of this portrait of Lempriere can be seen on the National Portrait Gallery website (reference NPG D5063). The portrait was later slightly altered and marketed as an image of Hannah Snell, who presented as male to serve in the army and navy between 1745 and 1750. Snell’s version can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery (reference NPG D4272). The two portraits are nearly identical despite the re-gendering: Snell wears identical clothing to Lempriere, sits in an identical pose, and the two have very similar hair and facial features.

Given that large numbers of people assigned female at birth presented as male in military contexts, it is important not to homogenise their individual motivations, which are likely to have included desire for independence and adventure, a need for money, desire to follow a male partner, desire to attract or access a female partner, and desire to live as male because this felt congruent with their gendered subjectivity. While Snell identified as female and went on to live as female for the rest of her life following her return from military service, other soldiers who were assigned female at birth did not. This represents an underacknowledged area of what would now be called transgender history.

Physical description

Mezzotint engraving portrait of Captain C. Lempriere (died 1846), draughtsman to the Office of Ordnance. Half-length, facing half right. Lettered with name of sitter etc. and T. Frye Pinxit 1735. I Faber Fecit Sold by
IFaber at the Golden Head in Bloomsbury Square
and dated 1745.

Place of Origin

London (probably, engraved)

Date

1745 (engraved)
1735 (painted)

Artist/maker

Faber, John the younger (mezzotinter)
Frye, Thomas (painter)

Materials and Techniques

Mezzotint engraving print on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'T. Frye Pinxit 1735. I Faber Fecit Sold by IFaber at the Golden Head in Bloomsbury Square'

Lettered

Lettered with name of sitter

'1745'

Dated

Dimensions

Height: 32.9 cm, Width: 22.8 cm

Object history note

J.D.S.219.

Some time after 1750 this plate was used for a portrait of Mrs. Hannah Snell (1723-1792), the female soldier, the face and wig being altered and the inscription being erased and replaced (J.D.S.219, addenda).

Descriptive line

Mezzotint engraving by John Faber II (1684-1756) after a painting by T. Frye. Portrait of Captain C. Lempriere (died 1846), draughtsman to the Office of Ordnance. 1745.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

The full text of the entry is as follows:

'FABER, John, II (c.1684-1756)

Captain D. Lempriere (died 1846), draughtsman to the Office of
Ordnance. Portrait, half-length, facing half right. (J.D.S.219)
Lettered with name of sitter etc. and T. Frye Pinxit 1735. I Faber Fecit Sold by
IFaber at the Golden Head in Bloomsbury Square and dated 1745.
Mezzotint. Cut to 13 x 9 (32.9 x 22.8 cm.)

E.18-1965

Given by the Public Library and Museum, Hove

Note: Some time after 1750 this plate was used for a portrait of Mrs. Hannah
Snell (1723-1792), the female soldier, the face and wig being altered and
the inscription being erased and replaced (J.D.S.219, addenda).'

Accessions 1965
Key references:

Catherine Baker, ‘Monstrous Regiment’, History Today (17/04/2018) https://www.historytoday.com/history-matters/monstrous-regiment

Matthew H. Edney, ‘John Mitchell's Map of North America (1755): A Study of the Use and Publication of Official Maps in Eighteenth-Century Britain’, Imago Mundi, 60.1 (2008), 63-85

Henry Popple and Clement Lempriere, A map of the British Empire in America with the French and Spanish settlements adjacent thereto (London: s.n., 1733) < https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3300m.gct00061/&gt

Julie Wheelwright, ‘Snell, Hannah [alias James Gray] (1723–1792)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/25975

Further reading:

James R. Akerman, ‘Introduction’ in James R. Akerman (ed.), The Imperial Map: Cartography and the Mastery of Empire, 1-9

Scarlet Bowen, ‘“The Real Soul of a Man in her Breast”: Popular Opposition and British Nationalism in Memoirs of Female Soldiers, 1740 – 1750’, Eighteenth-Century Life, 28.3 (2004), 20-44

Theresa Braunschneider, ‘Acting the Lover: Gender and Desire in Narratives of Passing Women’, The Eighteenth Century, 45.3 (2004), 211-229

T.H. Breen. ‘The meaning of ‘likeness’: American portrait painting in an eighteenth-century consumer society’, Word & Image, 6.4 (1990), 325-348

Dianne Dugaw, ‘Female Sailors Bold: Transvestite Heroines and the Markers of Gender and Class’, in Iron Men, Wooden Women: Gender and Seafaring in the Atlantic World, 1700-1920, ed. by Margaret Creighton and Lisa Norling (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996),pp. 34-54

Marian Füssel, ‘Between Dissimulation and Sensation: Female Soldiers in Eighteenth-Century Warfare’, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 41. 4 (2018), 527-42

Elissa Gurman ‘“Never yet did any Woman/more for Love and Glory do”: Gender, Heroism, and the Reading Public in The Female Soldier; Or, The Surprising Life and Adventures of Hannah Snell’, Women's Studies, 44.3(2015), 321-341

Georgina Lock and David Worrall, ‘Cross-Dressed Performance at the Theatrical Margins: Hannah Snell, the Manual Exercise, and the New Wells Spa Theater, 1750’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 77. (Spring 2014), 17-36

Franz Reitinger, ‘Mapping Relationships: Allegory, Gender and the Cartographical Image in Eighteenth-Century France and England’, Imago Mundi, 51 (1999), 106-130

Materials

Printing ink

Techniques

Mezzotint

Subjects depicted

Portraits

Categories

Prints

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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