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Rare JPJ Print Donated to Portsmouth
JPJ battle print
Shane Ambridge (left) of Lionel Kier, Ltd donates a print of a never-before-seen John Paul Jones sea battle. Brad Lown, president of the John Paul Jones House Museum and Tom Cocchiaro, president of the Ranger Foundation accept as JPJ looks on. (Photo by Ralph Morang)

Mystery Painting Surfaces in Portsmouth

British-born entrepreneur Shane Ambridge was surfing the web for information about John Paul Jones when he discovered Portsmouth, New Hampshire on . Ambridge's new company, Lionel Kier Ltd., has just issued two limited edition prints of John Paul Jones sea battles. Now, in honor of the print release, Ambrdge has agreed to donate a portion of the sales of both rare maritime prints to the John Paul Jones House Museum and the new Ranger Foundation.

"It seemed like an ideal match," Ambridge said during a visit to the New Hampshire museum. "I discovered Jones, really, through your Portsmouth, and this is a wonderful way for us to launch our new prints and our new American-based company."

Lionel Kier will operate from a new gallery in Philadelphia, and Ambridge has been touring eastern United States, building a network of distribution points for his unique line of fine art. All the limited edition prints currently come from a private art collection in England.

JPJ battle print
The large oil painting shows what is believed to be a sea battle with Jones attacking British merchant ships off the coast of Ireland around 1778-79. The painting came from the Ponsonby family of Ireland, whose house overlooks Dublin Bay. Reportedly painted by an Irish journeyman around the time of the battle, the painting has been in private hands literally since the date of the battle. This is the period of Jones famous raid on the British Isles, first in the Portsmouth-built ship Ranger, and later aboard the Bonhomme Richard.

JPJ battle print
Ambridge also donated a print showing the Bonhomme Richard locked in battle with the Serapis. The sepia-wash drawing is especially detailed and will be displayed in the room where, local history says, John Paul Jones stayed during two trips to Portsmouth. The painter, like Jones, was a Scot. Christian Schetky (1778-1874), ironically, served for a 25 years as Professor of Drawing at the Royal Naval College at Portsmouth, England.

The success of Lionel Kier's venture could bring a much needed windfall to both Portsmouth nonprofit agencies. The prints sell for $3,500 and $650 respectively. The Portsmouth historical Society, which manages the museum, plans to renovate the John Paul Jones room, a costly project, in order to show how it may have appeared during his visit. The Ranger Foundation has an initial goal of $6 million needed to reconstruct the sloop of war Ranger which Jones sailed from Portsmouth, NH in 1777.

Copyright © 2000
Images used by permission of Lionel Kier
Top photo by New England Photography
and the Portsmouth Historical Society

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