PORTRAIT OF A GENTLEMAN,
BELIEVED TO BE JOSEPH KING
WEARING A BLUE JACKET AND WHITE WAISTCOAT
Oil on canvas 30
x 25 inches
37 ½ x 32 inches
Thomas Hudson was born in Devon in 1701 and
he studied under the portrait painter Jonathan Richardson, whose daughter he
ran away with and married in 1725.
Hudson was one of the foremost portrait
painters in England in the mid 18th Century, who practiced in the
West Country as well as London from 1730 to 1740. He was influenced by Van Loo,
whom he succeeded as principal, the portrait painter for British Society. By 1744 he had established himself as the
leading portraitist in London attracting eminent sitters.
Hudson painted at least 400 portraits,
about 80 of which were engraved. With Ramsay
he became the most fashionable painter in London. They both employed Joseph
& Alexander Van Aken to paint their draperies. The practice of employing
painters in the mid 18th Century was very common. The Van Aken
brothers were the best skilled painters of silks, satins, velvets and
embroideries and their contribution was considered to be an enhancement to the
Hudson had many pupils including Joseph
Wright of Derby, John Hamilton Mortimer and Joshua Reynolds, indeed his
influence and importance to 18th Century painting in Britain is
He exhibited his work at The Society of
Artists of Great Britain, and at The Free Society of Artists.
Hudson was a member of the group of artists
including Hogarth, Allan Ramsay, Francis Hayman and the sculpture John Michael
Rysbrack who met at Old Slaughter’s Coffee House in the mid-1740’s and who
promoted Thomas Coram’s Foundling Hospital, of which they were Governors, as
the first public exhibiting space for artists in London.
Hudson visited France and the Low Countries
in 1748 and was accompanied by Hogarth, Hayman and others. He briefly visited
Italy in 1752 with Roubiliac.
Because of his tremendous success he kept a
large studio with many assistants. Many works of poorer
quality are attributed to him but his true work proves the breadth of his
Later in life he married again, a Mrs
Fiennes, a widow with a good fortune.
Thomas Hudson died in Twickenham on 26
Works Represented: National Portrait
Gallery, National Gallery of Ireland, Tate, Bodleian Library; Dulwich Art
Gallery, Goldsmiths Company, Blenheim Place and Yale.
Bibl: Portrait Painters in Britain – B.
Stewart & M. Cutten
Thomas Hudson Exhibition Catalogue. The
Iveagh Bequest Kenwood 1979