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Profile of Fowler Walker

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At the outbreak of the Seven Years War, England found itself to be unready and unable to man the Navy. Lord Harry Powlett, Channel Fleet Captain of the Barfleur at Portsmouth wrote to Sir John Fielding, his friend and a famous Bow Street Magistrate and asked him to collect together destitute boys who just might like to go to sea. Fielding wasted no time and soon a bunch of lads were on their way to Portsmouth, having been kitted-out by the Captain of the Barfleur. On this first journey from London to Portsmouth they met the London merchant, Fowler Walker. Being impressed with their appearance and on learning of the initiative, Walker raised a subscription in the City that funded the kit for a further 300-400 boys, enabling them to be sent into the navy, initially as deck hands.  Coincidentally, Jonas Hanay, traveller, Russia Company merchant, writer and philanthropist, together with some friends, was also offering to fund the fitting-out of destitute lads for the needy navy. Soon, and at behest of Sir John Fielding, the Marine Society was formed, bringing together the work of all parties, including that of Fowler Walker.

Over the course of its first twelve years 5174 boys were sent to sea and by the end of the Edwardian era it was recorded that 65,670 had been sent through the Marine Society into the Royal Navy, Merchant Navy, or the Indian Marine.

An unrecorded number gave their lives in battle for their country; one rose to command a British man-of-war as a post-captain.

This silhouette of Fowler Walker is painted onto plaster and is perhaps by the hand of John Miers of Leeds.

Beautifully presented within an oval ormolu bezel set into a black panel frame and further framed within a gilded moulding frame with titled verre églomisé mount; probably assembled around the time of Walker’s death, circa 1800. 

o.s: 8 7/8 in x 11 1/8 in







Item Code: 4689

£ 795

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