This whimsical caricature of Peter Heywood was completed by illustrator and artist Mark Ulriksen. Heywood was a crew member on HMS BOUNTY and participated in the mutiny. He was captured in Tahiti and imprisoned aboard HMS PANDORA. On the way back to England in 1791, PANDORA struck a reef and sank off the coast of Queensland; Heywood was one of the survivors.
SignificanceThis portrait represents one of the individuals involved in the infamous mutiny on the BOUNTY.
HistoryHMS PANDORA was designed by Sir John Williams and built in Deptford, London by Messrs Adams, Barnard and Dudman in 1778-1779. PANDORA was active in North America during the American Revolutionary War and acted as a convoy escort. However, it is probably best known for its role in the story of the BOUNTY mutiny.
On 24 May 1789 HMS BOUNTY, under the command of Captain William Bligh, was taken over by 24 mutinous crew members being led by Fletcher Christian. Bligh was placed with 18 of his supporters in a ship's boat and cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean near Tonga. The band of mutineers then sailed the BOUNTY to Tahiti where they collected supplies and a number of women and boys. The mutineers, in an effort to hide from the Royal Navy, attempted to build a settlement in Tubuai. This first unsuccessful attempt was followed by a second settlement on Pitcairn Island by a smaller group under Fletcher Christian. Some descendants of the BOUNTY mutineers still live on Pitcairn Island today.
Once news of the BOUNTY mutiny reached England in 1790 the Admiralty dispatched the Royal Navy 24-gun frigate HMS PANDORA to search for the mutineers. Under the command of Captain Edward Edwards the PANDORA, impressively armed with 20 six-pounder carriage guns and four 18-pounder carronades left to search, locate and apprehend the 24 mutineers.
Leaving England on 7 November 1790 PANDORA arrived at Tahiti in March 1791 where it arrested 14 surviving mutineers who had left Fletcher Christian’s party and decided to remain in Tahiti. These men were Peter Heywood, James Morrison, William Muspratt, Charles Norman, Richard Skinner, George Stewart, John Sumner, Henry Hillbrant, Thomas Burkitt, Michael Byrne, Joseph Coleman, Thomas Ellison, John Millward and Thomas McIntosh. The PANDORA continued sailing west in search of the remaining mutineers and missing BOUNTY, now believed to have been broken up by the mutineers off Pitcairn Island in an attempt to conceal their whereabouts.
After locating 14 of the mutineers Captain Edwards made the decision to return to England. During its home passage the ship ran aground as it attempted to enter the Great Barrier Reef near Cape York in August 1791. PANDORA's rudder and part of its sternpost were torn away and it quickly began to take on water. The vessel sank in barely a few hours after hitting the reef and the wreck resulted in the deaths of 35 men, including four of the mutineers who drowned with their hand shackles still on. Ten surviving mutineers were returned to England where they were put on trial for their role in the BOUNTY mutiny. Many were acquitted but three were hanged on the deck of HMS BRUNSWICK moored in the Thames.
The PANDORA wreck lay undetected off the coast of Queensland's Cape York for over 200 years to be finally discovered in 1977. Protected by the Historic Shipwrecks Act of 1976 this site is one of the most important and well preserved wrecks in the southern hemisphere. The site's conservation and excavation is the responsibility of the Queensland Museum and an estimated one-third of the ship's hull still lies intact under the sea bed waiting to be examined.
PANDORA continues to provide an insight into maritime life during the 18th century. Human remains of the victims of the wreck have been recovered and many personal objects belonging to the officers and crew. Some of these objects have been linked to specific individuals on board PANDORA when it sank in 1791.
Peter Heywood was born in 1772 and entered into naval service at the age of 11. He was 15 at the time of his service on the BOUNTY and he remained with the ship after Bligh and 18 men were set adrift in its launch. Bligh believed Heywood to be a key figure in the uprising, but other crew members cited his age and inexperience for succumbing to the excitement of the situation. Heywood was seen holding a cutlass during the mutiny.
Heywood was one of the group that chose to remain in Tahiti. During this time, he observed the local customs, acquired a Tahitian wife and fathered a daughter. Once PANDORA was sited, Heywood voluntarily approached the ship and was arrested as a mutineer.
After surviving the sinking of PANDORA, Heywood was court marshaled in London in 1792. Due to his family connections, he was able to gain representation but was ultimately convicted and condemned to death. However, he and three others were awarded full pardons and Heywood went on to a distinguished naval career, becoming a captain in 1803 and retiring in 1816.
Primary title: PORTRAIT OF PETER HEYWOOD WEARING A BLUE UNIFORM WITH EPAULET, BACKGROUND SHOWS SKY AND SEA WITH "HMS Pandora" SINKING
Web title: Portrait of Peter Heywood