Charles Buckner

Admiral of the Red


The son of a steward to the Dukes of Richmond, Charles Buckner was born in Sussex in 1736. With patronage from his father’s employer, Charles joined the Royal Navy and as a young lieutenant saw his first action at the Battle of Minorca in 1756. Moving through the ranks to Commander and then Captain he took charge of HMS Prothée at Battle of the Saintes during the American War of Independence. Promotion to Vice-Admiral of the Blue came in 1794 and he was the Commander-in-Chief during the failed Spithead and Nore mutinies of 1797. His service was further rewarded with promotion to Admiral of the Blue, then the White and finally, just three years prior to his death, to Admiral of the Red.

In his private life, Buckner married twice and had three children. A nephew described him as ‘tall, rough-voiced, formidable’, a man who ‘loved courage’. The family home was in Chichester where he was elected mayor in 1784 and where his older brother John served as Lord Bishop. Buckner died in February 1811 at his brother’s London home.

Painted by an unidentified but accomplished hand, the portrait shows Buckner in his Admiral’s full dress uniform, his coat heavy with gold braid and with three silver stars on his epaulettes. In fine condition, the portrait resides in the original gold plated frame, the reverse with a lock of brown hair with seed pearls displayed on opalescent glass within a blue glass surround.

Ivory Registration: B7SRT6Z8

Item Ref. 9117

Size: framed, 80 x 66mm + bail

Provenance: By family descent ; English private collection