The Sandwich collection includes pictures by Lely, Van de Velde the Younger, Scott, Reynolds and Hogarth. There are several portraits of Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich, who served under Cromwell and became Charles II’s first general-at-sea. He helped his young cousin, Samuel Pepys, to become the Navy’s first great administrator and the ship models and naval paintings date mainly from this period.
The 4th Earl of Sandwich, credited with putting roast beef between two slices of bread, was an able diplomat and politician. He was First Lord of the Admiralty in the 1770s and a sponsor of Captain Cook’s voyages. He was responsible for reorganising the navy and improving the ships to the point they withstood France’s aggressive navy under Napoleon.