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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

William Dodd (1729-1777), Parson and forger

Painting by John Russell, see NPG 251.

Painting by Thomas Hickey, presented by the artist to the Magdalen Hospital; it was given to the sitter’s widow in 1782 (H. F. B. Compston, Magdalen Hospital, 1917, pp 137-38).

Painting by Thomas Gainsborough, half length in gown and bands. Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai [Bombay] (E. K. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, 1958, no.198; illus. J. Hayes ed., Gainsborough Letters, 2001, p 121). Engraved T. L. Atkinson 1884. ‘The ladies say it is very handsome as it is ... Lord, says, one, what a lively eye that gentleman has’ (Gainsborough, 24 November 1773, to Mrs Dodd; J. Hayes ed., Gainsborough Letters, 2001, p 121).

The remaining images of Dodd are inconsistent engravings produced in a hurry during his trial and sentence. He was convicted on 22 February 1777 and hanged on 27 June.

The most substantial was an oval half length mezzotint in wig, gown and bands, published by W. Humphrey, 24 May 1777, on which a number of later prints were based, e.g. those by Freeman (oval) and Graves; a head by T. Trotter ‘from an Original Portrait painted from the Life’ (later impressions dated 1787 and 1788) shows a different wig.

A bust-length oval, engraved by John Goldar from a drawing by [Daniel?] Dodd, also shows a weeping putto, a view of the Magdalen Hospital and a book lettered Dodd on Miracles. A quite different head appears in an anon. engraving, bust-length oval to right with gown and bands lettered The Unfortunate Clergyman Now under Sentence of Death in Newgate.

An anon. plate, whole length, his hands raised before him, is lettered ‘Taken from the Life in Newgate the Morning of his Execution’, and the same head appears in the bust-length plate by Daniel Berger, lettered an Morgen seiner Hinrichtung nach dem Leeben gezeichnet. Another anon. plate showed Dodd with his arms bound on the morning of his execution (pub. A. Hamilton).

Death mask. A cast in the Department of Anatomy, University of Edinburgh, from the Edinburgh Phrenological Society (Death Masks and Life Masks, Edinburgh University, [1988], p 31).

Engraving by W. Ridley ‘from an original drawing’, bust-length oval in gown and bands. Several crude reductions were made from this type.

Anon. engraving, whole length standing in a silk robe (P. Fitzgerald, A Famous Forgery, 1865, front.).

Doubtful Portraits
Miniature by Samuel Shelley dated 1774, three-quarter length in gown and bands, sold Christie’s 10 July 1991, lot 121. An unattributed and untraced miniature, exhibited Royal House of Guelph, New Gallery, London, 1891 (1041) and Burlington Fine Arts Club 1889 (XVIII 15), Whitehead sale, Christie’s, 2nd day, 5 August 1915, lot 654.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.