Major James George Semple Lilse.
[Pubd. September 1 1799, by W. Stewart 194 Piccadilly.]
Stipple. Sheet size: 175 x 130mm (6½ x 5¼"). Trimmed inside platemark loosing publication line.
A half-length portrait in an oval of Major James George Semple (1759 - 1815), standing to left, looking ahead with his right arm thrown out a little. He is wearing military uniform with braiding, dark stock, white cravat and a wing collar. Semple was a notorious swindler and con-man in late eighteenth century Britain who was arrested numerous times for fraud and eventually deported to Australia in 1797 on the 'The Lady Shore', which suffered a mutiny on the Brazilian coast. After several months of travelling he was finally returned via Lisbon and Tangiers to England, where he spent time in Portsmouth before being taken to London and Tothill Field. On the 6 June 1805 Semple is reported as being in Paris, and is now suspected of being the well-known spy 'Facqs', after a letter from his public house in Piccadilly claims he was 'begging to be allowed to offer his services as a spy or instigator of mutiny on enemy ships, describing his fitness for these tasks, and requesting that his past faults and follies be overlooked'. After further arrests in the following years, including one in 1814 in which he was found guilty at the Middlesex sessions of obtaining bacon and butter by fraudulent means, Semple died in Lisbon, on his way to Morocco, to which he had apparently engaged to transport himself.
[Ref: 34374] £95.00