Watson and the
Shark

John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark, 1778. National Gallery of Art, Ferdinand Lammot Belin Fund 1963.6.1

John Singleton Copley's Watson and the Shark was inspired by an event that took place in Havana, Cuba, in 1749. Fourteen-year-old Brook Watson, an orphan serving as a crew member on a trading ship, was attacked by a shark while swimming alone in the harbor. His shipmates, who had been waiting on board to escort their captain ashore, launched a valiant rescue effort.


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