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Lieutenant Bligh and his crew of the ship BOUNTY hospitably received by the Governor of Timor

Date: 1791
Dimensions:
Overall: 240 x 391 mm, 0.01 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Vaughan Evans
Classification:Art
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00027383
Place Manufactured:Holborn

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    Description
    This engraving shows Lieutenant Bligh and his supporting crew from HMB BOUNTY being warmly received by the Governor of Timor, who offers them food and drink. The men were cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean on 28 April 1789 after the BOUNTY was taken over by Fletcher Christian and his supporters. This engraving shows the arrival of the castaways at Kupang, Timor on 14 June 1789 after spending 41 days at sea in a small cutter.
    SignificanceThis engraving is representative of Lieutenant Bligh and his command of the BOUNTY. It was printed two years after the BOUNTY mutiny and in the same year that Bligh was undertaking his second breadfruit expedition.
    HistoryWilliam Bromley's engraving was one of 77 plates appearing in Charles Alfred Ashburton's 'A new & complete history of England, from the first settlement of Brutus...to the year 1793...'. which was printed and published between 1791 and 1793.

    HMB BOUNTY was sent from England to Tahiti in 1787 under the command of Lieutenant William Bligh to collect breadfruit trees and transport them to the West Indies, where they could be cultivated as food for slaves. BOUNTY arrived in Tahiti in October 1788 where it anchored at Matavai Bay. The ship's company remained there for six months until April 1789 growing the breadfruit plants and enjoying a lifestyle of leisure, women, a warm climate and ample food.

    Twenty-four days after leaving Tahiti part of the crew under the leadership of Fletcher Christian mutinied in the early morning of 28 April 1789. Captain Bligh and 18 loyalists were forced into the BOUNTY's boat and set adrift near Tafoa in the Friendly Islands (Tonga). Bligh - in an incredible feat of seamanship - ultimately sailed the boat to Timor and raised the alarm. This was a 6,701 kilometre voyage that took 41 days to complete without navigation equipment.

    In command of the BOUNTY's cutter with 18 men on board Bligh navigated to Tofua, Tonga for supplies and then on to Timor, losing only one of his crew in the voyage, during an altercation with the Tongans. On arriving at Timor the men were severely dehydrated and malnourished but welcomed with food and drink by the Governor of Timor. Bligh returned to England and after being court martialled in 1790 was cleared of any role in the mutiny and honourably acquitted. In that same year he also released his publication, 'A Narrative of the Bounty'. In August 1791 Bligh would also get a second chance to complete the breadfruit expedition successfully.
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