Engraved by B. Strutt Printed by Francis Jukes (1745-1812) The Deaths of Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle, 1648
This aquatint records the moment when Charles Lucas has just been shot by a firing squad. He is seen on the ground, dead or dying, supported by a priest, his shirt wide open. It is said that, in an act of defiance, when just about to face the squad, he had opened his shirt declaring ‘Now rebels, do your worst’. Lisle, on the right, is stepping forward to embrace his friend a last time, despite being restrained by chains. A firing squad stands in the background. On the far left stands Lord Fairfax, while on Colchester Castle a flag is being waved to celebrate the victory of the Round Heads. Apparently in an act of defiance Lisle had then invited the squad to come closer and having said short prayers had also opened his shirt, also inviting the soldiers to ‘do their worst’. Lucas was 35 and Lisle 38.
Francis Jukes (1745-1812) was a prominent engraver of sporting and marine subjects. For example he engraved after drawings executed on Captain Cook voyages. He also engraved landscapes and topographical views after his contemporaries. Born at Martley in Worcestershire, he worked in London, often collaborating with other engravers such as R. Pollard.
Sir Charles Lucas (1613-1648) and Sir George Lisle (1610-1648) were both Royalists who fought numerous battles in the English Civil Wars. They played a prominent part in the long and difficult siege of Colchester, where the Essex Royalists had been forced to retreat by Sir Thomas Fairfax. After the Royalists’ defeat both Lucas and Lisle who had surrendered, were executed the same evening, without trial, as an example to others. Their summary execution was considered an outrage and both men became martyrs for the Royalist cause. Lucas was awarded a posthumous peerage in 1666.
APPLEBY, David, Our Fall Our Fame – The Life and Times of Sir Charles Lucas, Newtown : Jacobus Publications, 1996
EARL GREY,Thomas Philip De Grey, The Memoir of the Life of Sir Charles Lucas, privately printed, London, 1845