HERO OF CAMPERDOWN
Admiral Adam Duncan, 1731-1804 : A Bicentenary Exhibition
19 June - 5 September 2004
Dundee, DD2 4TF
This special exhibition, funded by Dundee City Council's Common
Good Fund, marked the Bicentenary of the death of Adam Duncan -
Scotland's supreme Naval Hero - who was born in Dundee in 1731.
Admiral of the British Fleet in the North Sea, he won a Glorious
Victory over the Dutch Navy at the Battle of Camperdown on 11
October 1797. Immediately created Viscount Camperdown, his
exploits were commemorated in a brilliant series of paintings and
engravings of the actual battle and portraits of Duncan himself.
Many of these were being lent by the National Galleries of
Scotland and the National Museums of Scotland for this special
exhibition. Among the treasures were personal Duncan relics such as
the ship's drum from his flagship, the 'Venerable', and the bronze
bell captured from de Winter's flagship, 'Vryheid'. Duncan even
had chairs made from the wood from captured Dutch ships.
Other key exhibits included an oil portrait of Captain Duncan
aged 30 by Sir Joshua Reynolds and numerous prints, colourful
jugs, cameos and commemorative medals which were rushed out as
souvenirs to capture the enthusiastic celebrations of the moment.
The fact that this exhibition was held in Camperdown House,
where the Duncan family lived for three more generations, was
another cause for rejoicing. Many of the 'Duncan relics' came from
the collection of Lady Buckinghamshire, an avid Duncan enthusiast,
who was the last occupant of the House.