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Brook Watson
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    (February 7, 1735-October 21, 1807)
    Born in Plymouth, England, United Kingdom
    British merchant, soldier and politician
    Commissary in the British Army (1750-58)
    Founding member of Lloyd’s of London (1774)
    Member of Parliament for London (1784-93)
    Lord Mayor of London (1796-97)
    Named a baronet (1803)
    Subject of the John Singleton Copley painting ‘Watson and the Shark’ (1778)
    He is better remembered as the subject of ‘Watson and the Shark’ than for his own accomplishments.
    During the years leading to the American Revolution, he used his business connections to learn as much as he could about the plans of American political leaders and delivered the information to the British Crown.
    Ethan Allen, after being captured and sent to England as a prisoner of war, called Watson, who accompanied him on ship, ‘a man of malicious and cruel disposition.’
    He was orphaned when he was six and sent to live with an aunt and uncle in Boston.
    When he was a fourteen-year-old cabin boy, he went for a swim in Havana harbor and was attacked by a shark that bit off his right foot and much of the flesh from his lower right leg, which had to be amputated at the knee.
    When he was named a baronet, he had his severed leg incorporated into his coat of arms.
    In his will, he donated his copy of Copley’s painting to Christ’s Hospital in Sussex. (They later sold it to the National Gallery in Washington, DC.)

Credit: C. Fishel

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