Frank Salisbury’s Boy Cornwell sketch to see $8,500 at Bonhams



2015-06-26 11:35:08

Frank Salisbury’s sketch for a portrait of Boy Cornwell, a Victoria Cross medal holder, sells in October

Image: Bonhams


A large sketch by Frank Salisbury of his famous portrait of Victoria Cross medal holder Boy Cornwell comes to Bonhams on October 1 as part of the first world war centenary sale.

Jack "Boy" Cornwell was just 16 when he found himself the last man alive at a gun mounting on HMS Chester in the midst of the Battle of Jutland. His entire crew killed, he suffered severe chest wounds, but nonetheless held his post until his ship withdrew.

He died just two days later on June 2, 1916. Cornwell was posthumously awarded a Victoria Cross as an "acknowledgement of the high example set by him".

The story captured the affections of the British public and his body was exhumed to be reburied with full military honours. Hundreds attended the funeral.

Court painter Frank Salisbury then created one of his finest portraits, using Jack Cornwell's brother as a model. The final work hangs in the chapel of HMS Raleigh, a Royal Navy training base in Cornwall.

Cornwell's legacy continues to this day, with the highest award for a Scout being the Cornwell Scout Badge, awarded to those showing "pre-eminently high character and devotion to duty, together with great courage and endurance."

Paul Fraser Collectibles has some great pieces of militaria for sale.

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