Exhibit on the historical inspiration for Capt. Jack Aubrey!

This is for your Just Too Cool folder. BBC reports:

Admiral Cochrane artefacts go on display for first time

The life of an admiral who inspired the character Jack Aubrey, portrayed in the film Master and Commander, is to form an exhibition in Edinburgh.

Novelist Patrick O’Brian partly based his 19th Century captain on the seafaring Scot, Thomas Cochrane.

The display charts Cochrane’s life, from growing up in Fife, to battling Napoleon’s Navy, from scandal and disgrace to becoming a Chilean hero.

Admiral Cochrane, the Real Master and Commander opens later.

The National Museum of Scotland exhibition includes objects that have never previously been on public display.

The artefacts include medals, trophies and personal mementos and a portrait of Cochrane by James Ramsay.

Personal objects connect the man with his remarkable story throughout the exhibition, from the pocket watch Cochrane was given by his father when he first went to sea to the Bosun’s Call silver whistle he kept as a souvenir from his naval service.

Dr Stuart Allan, senior curator at National Museums Scotland, said: “Cochrane’s story is as remarkable as any of the fictional exploits which he inspired and yet he remains a figure who is not widely remembered or recognised in Scotland.

“This exhibition aims to remedy that by giving people a unique chance to see first hand artefacts, documents and portraits from Cochrane’s lifetime.”

Curators said the exhibition reveals a “fiery character with difficulty accepting authority”.

It charts his rise from his first major exploit in capturing the Spanish frigate El Gamo in 1801 to one of his most notable achievements, the attack on the French fleet in the Basque Roads in 1809.

The exhibition also includes the Star of Bath, the Knighthood awarded to Cochrane for this action as well as graphic display charting the progress of the battle.

National hero

He became an MP after this but then dramatically lost his rank, seat and peerage after being controversially found guilty of a stock exchange fraud.

After his trial, he emigrated with his family to Chile, where he took command of their navy in the war of independence with Spain.

His successes led to his becoming a national hero in Chile, where he is remembered to this day.

Among the decorations and gifts on display is a sea chest presented by the people of Chile, inscribed ‘Soy de Cochrane’ (I belong to Cochrane).

This chapter of Cochrane’s career also inspired a central character in one of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe novels.

He was known by name to Napoleon, praised in verse by Sir Walter Scott, and Lord Byron said in 1821 “There is no man I envy so much as Lord Cochrane.”

If you are near Edinburgh don’t be a crackit gaberlunzie or a puir slow-witted gowk.  Go see the exhibit.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jim in VT says:

    I probably should have spent as many hours reading the Bible as I have spent reading Jack and Stephen’s exploits. I read through the entire series each winter when the weather gets too bad to leave the house much. So many wonderful hours…

  2. Cantor says:

    And now we know why you beamed yourself over to the UK, eh, cap’n? … er … Father?

    Hope you can make it.

  3. UncleBlobb says:

    Hopefully the museum cafeteria will be serving grog and plum-duff!

  4. aurora says:

    Too far for me – Lat 44.95°N and Lon 93.28°W . Russell Crowe poster will be on display here.
    When Captain Jack sets sail this time I’ll travel to Spain in my other life as Teresa in Sharpe’s Rifles!

  5. chcrix says:

    Some of us have never left behind our admiration for Horatio Hornblower – also inspired by Captain the Honourable Thomas Cochrane.

  6. WaywardSailor says:

    I hope they send this collection on the road. I suggest the Peabody Museum in Salem, Massachusetts as a first stop. Twenty or so years ago it hosted a collection of Treasures of British Maritime History (including one of Harrison’s original naval chronometers). The Cochrane exhibit would be equally well-received.

  7. alexandra88 says:

    Thanks for the heads up, Father. I’ll make a visit on Tuesday and let you all know what I think :)

  8. irishgirl says:

    This DOES sound ‘cool’!
    I like reading about Admiral Nelson and the Duke of Wellington, and their exploits against Napoleon!
    I’ve seen Nelson’s and Wellington’s tombs in St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the musket ball that killed Nelson (on display at Windsor Castle, another of my favorite places in England).
    Oh, how I wish we had heroes as these today!

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