Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue: Doddridge

The following text is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977 (now out of print). For the most up to date research on the Collection, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text. This can be accessed by following the link with each portrait’s title.

In consulting the following, please note that apart from the reformatting which allows the printed catalogue to be made available on-line the text is as published in 1977. Footnotes in the original edition are given within square brackets.

Contents Foreword Introduction Catalogue scope Abbreviations Arrangement of entries

Philip Doddridge (1702-51)

Non-conformist divine and celebrated hymn-writer; minister at Knebworth, 1723; opened an academy at Market Harborough, 1729; removed to Northampton where he taught, wrote and lectured; published Free Thoughts on Reviving the Dissenting Interest, 1730, and The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul, 1745; DD Aberdeen, 1736; died at Lisbon.

2007 Called Philip Doddridge, by an unknown artist

Oil on canvas, 35 1/4 x 28 1/4 in. (909 x 718 mm); eyebrows strongly marked, pale grey eyes, protruding lower lip, pale complexion, grey wig; white bands beneath small turned-down collar, black gown; his left hand rests on a small thick book, bottom right; brown background; lit from top left.

A stencil 1225 AG on the top bar of the relining stretcher and a small paper label 6040.

On comparison with authentic portraits, the identity of NPG 2007 is not convinc­ing. It is weakly painted by a hand so far not recognised.

worn and obscured by discoloured varnish; old damages at the top of the band and vertically across his left hand.

presented, 1923, by W.C. Edwards; at Christie's, 24 February 1902, lot 72, as Doddridge by Hogarth, property of Thomas Brash, bought Loeffler; again at Christie's, 23 November 1923, lot 114 (part), bought for the Gallery.

Literature: Correspondence and Diary . . . [of Philip Doddridge],
ed. J.D. Humphreys, 1829-31; G.C. Williamson, John Russell, R.A., 1894.


' . . .tall, slight and extremely near-sighted'. [1]


Two versions of a portrait at New College, London, [2] ascribed to John Russell, and a third, collection C.H. Dyer, 1932, correspond with the type engraved by W.C. Edwards. This was published by the proprietors of Doddridge's Complete Works, Leeds, 1802-5, 'by permission of the Trustees of the late William Coward, Esq. from the Original picture in Wymondley House, Hants'. Doddridge's connection with the eccentric merchant Coward (d.1738) began in 1734 and the portrait may date from these years. [3] Russell (1745-1806) can hardly have painted the sitter from life, and even allowing for their condition, it is difficult to understand how his name came to be associated with these works. A comparison with such early paintings as his 'unknown man', Sotheby's, 3 February 1954, lot 59, and the Rev. William Dodd (NPG 251) is further evidence that the New College portraits cannot be by him. A portrait, reputedly by him, was painted posthumously from a miniature by order of the Coward trustees [4] but both the copy and the original are lost. Another was produced by the Florentine artist Andrea Soldi, first mentioned by Vertue as in London c.1738. [5] It is now known only by Vertue's plate of 1751, but the sitter looks younger; the type was used en vignette for A. Walker's frontispiece to Doddridge's Family Expositor, 1739-56.

A portrait by an unknown hand, considered by the family and by Doddridge himself [6] to be the best likeness, was completed I0 August 1750. It was engraved by W.H. Worthington for the 1829 edition of the Correspondence when it belonged to the editor John Doddridge Humphreys, the sitter's great-grandson (d.1847). Since there is some resemblance between the face masks of the two engravings and assuming Vertue's to have been some­what free, it is just possible that the Soldi may be the prototype for both. To test such a hypothesis however would require the confrontation of two apparently lost pictures. A portrait from the family home at Tewkesbury was sold 25 November 1847 by Southgate and Barrett, London.

There are several doubtful portraits. One of a divine in Commercial Street Church, Northampton, 1932, was presented by the executors of the Rev. Edmund Thornton Prust (d.1888), the first minister of the church. From the wig it may be dated c.1730 but does not seem rightly named. An etching which, on costume and style, also seems of doubtful authenticity, was published by C. Dyer of Compton Street, London, as after Kneller. A portrait at Castle Hill Chapel, Northampton, shows a man too old and too removed in features from authentic portraits, to represent the sitter.


1. DNB, V, p.1068, quoting Orton's Memoirs, 1766.
2. Exh. 'NPE', 1867 (386); 'Manuscripts and Men', NPG, 1969 (133).
3. Correspondence, III, pp.146 ff.
4. Ibid.
5. Vertue, III, p.84.
6. Humphreys, I, p.xxx, Ietter 11 August 1750.