Captain William Keeling (1577-1620) was an English sea captain employed by the English East India Company. He is known to have made three voyages to the East Indies between 1604 and 1617. In 1609 while in command of the DRAGON on a return voyage from Java to the England, Keeling discovered a group of islands in the Indian Ocean which are named the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in his honour.
This work is believed to be executed after a lost original.
HistoryThe Cocos (Keeling) Islands were first located by Captain William Keeling in 1609. Keeling was an employee of the English East India Company and discovered the islands on a return voyage to Britain from Java. They are a cluster of small coral islands in the Indian Ocean between Australia and Sri Lanka. They were a protectorate of the British until 1955 when control of the area was transferred to Australia. During both the First and Second World Wars the Cocos (Keeling) Islands played an important role in maintaining communications between Australia and overseas troops. In November 1914, the German cruiser EMDEN ran aground on one of the islands after being attacked by HMAS SYDNEY(I).
William Keeling is known to have commanded three voyages to the East Indies. The first of these was the ship SUSAN in 1604, followed by two voyages on the (RED) DRAGON in 1607-1609 and 1615 - 1617. In September 1610, Keeling married Ann Broomefield. He finally left the sea in 1617 and based ashore, he became captain of Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight (now the Royal Yacht Squadron) and a groom of the bedchamber to King James the 1st. In October 1620 Keeling fell ill and died. He was buried in St Mary's Church at Carisbrooke, Isle of Wight, leaving several children and a rich but grieving widow. Ann erected an unusual monument to her husband, still in the church today. A year later, she re-married.
The James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota holds Keeling's journal for the DRAGON voyage for the period 1 Januray 1615 (six weeks before leaving England) to 9 June 1617 (when at Acheh).
The National Portrait Gallery, London lists one work (Portrait of Sir James Alan Park) after the artist R.G.Coslett (born 1785? - active 1827). Two works by R. Coslett titled 'Portrait of a gentleman; and Portrait of a lady (pastel laid on canvas) sold at Christies South Kensington, December 16, 2008 [Lot 168). Another work by R. Coslett titled 'A father and child with doll' sold at Grogan & Co., 27 October, 2002 [Lot 34]. Artist Roderick Coslett (born 1786) is listed in the 1841 census as sharing a house in the Eltham High Street [Eltham HO107/482, Folio 10' Page 4) - south of the River Thames with Martin and Amy Thomas.