Watson And The Shark1778 by John Singleton Copley

John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark, 1778, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Ferdinand Lammot Belin Fund. Image courtesy National Gallery of Art. The teenager in the water, Brook Watson, lost part of his right leg but survived this attack and went on to become lord mayor of London.

Watson and the Shark depicts the rescue of Brook Watson from a shark attack in Havana, Cuba.

While swimming alone in Havana harbor, Cuba in 1749, the 14-year-old Watson was attacked by a shark. The shark attacked twice before Watson was rescued. The first time, the shark removed flesh from below the calf of Watson’s right leg; the second time, it bit off his right foot at the ankle. Watson was rescued by his shipmates, but his leg had to be amputated below the knee. Watson recuperated in a Cuban hospital and recovered within three months.
Click to select the cover image for this artwork.
Tags: brook watson
Media: oil on canvas
Location: National Gallery of Art , Washington