Portrait of Isaac Peral Wearing a Naval Lieutenant's Uniform

Pedro Ferrer1889

Naval Museum

Naval Museum
Madrid, Spain

Isaac Peral was a scientist, sailor and naval officer who was born in Cartagena in 1851. In 1865 he entered the Naval Military College in San Fernando, where he reached the rank of midshipman. He later trained as a scientist at the San Fernando Astronomical Observatory. This led to his appointment as a professor of Physics and Mathematics at the Spanish Navy's School for Advanced Studies.

In 1885 the ''Caroline Islands Crisis'' took place, which almost saw Spain and Germany come to blows over the islands. Isaac Peral told his superiors about his idea to build a torpedo submarine powered by electricity. This caught the attention of mathematicians Cecilio Pujazón and Juan Viniegra, who turned their attention to Peral's research. In 1887 Queen Regent Maria Christina signed the Royal Decree ordering its construction at the La Carraca Dockyard, making it the first military ship made entirely from steel to be built at a Spanish dockyard. Despite being launched successfully in 1890, it was rejected by the Technical Board and the project was abandoned.

It was for this reason that Peral requested he be discharged from the Spanish Navy, allowing him to concentrate on his business interests. He founded several electricity-related companies and patented several electrical devices such as a machine gun, an elevator, a projector, and a dry dock. Weakened by complications arising from an old injury, he died in Berlin in 1895. His remains are buried in Cartagena.

The portrait, which depicts him wearing the uniform of a Naval Lieutenant, is signed and dated ''P. Ferrer 1889.'' This could have been the painter Pedro Ferrer, who was one of a group of artists in the late 19th century who mainly painted seascapes. The group included Rafael Monleón and Benito Lleonart, among others.


  • Title: Portrait of Isaac Peral Wearing a Naval Lieutenant's Uniform
  • Creator: Pedro Ferrer
  • Date: 1889
  • Type: Painting
  • Original Source: Museo Naval. Cartagena.
  • Rights: Museo Naval. Cartagena. All rigths reserved.
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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