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Watson and the Shark, Copley (ASL)

This painting depicts the true story of the orphaned Brooks Watson, who, at fourteen years old, was attacked by a shark while swimming in Havana Harbor, Cuba. Watson was saved, but not before losing his right foot. He went on to enjoy a successful career as a merchant and politician, and proudly recounted his ordeal. Watson commissioned Copley to paint the work for a London orphanage, where it was intended to represent strength through adversity for an audience who could identify with Watson’s background.