Watson and the Shark

This spring, I will be visiting the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. Of all it’s masterpieces, I’m most excited to see John Singleton Copley’s Watson and the Shark.


ABOVE: John Singleton Coply, Watson and the Shark, 1778, oil on canvas, 72 x 90.5 inches, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Painted in 1778, Watson and the Shark depicts the rescue of Brook Watson from a shark attack in Havana, Cuba.

The attack took place in 1749, and Watson, who was a fourteen year old cabin boy at the time, lost his leg before being pulled to safety.

Several years later, he became friends with Copley, and commissioned him to make a painting of the incident. Copley made three, the original of which resides in the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

I can’t wait to see it.