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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

William Thomas Lewis (circa 1746-1812), Actor

See also L. A. Hall, Catalogue of the Dramatic Portraits in the Theatre Collection of the Harvard College Library, III, pp 52-55, and P. H. Highfill, K. A. Burnim & E. A. Langhans, A Biographical Dictionary of Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800, IX, pp 290-92 (listing further portrayals of Lewis in character).

1783
Coloured wax by Calvert, exhibited Society of Artists, London, 1783 (53).

1787
Painting by Mather Brown, bust-length oval, holding a tragic mask, exhibited RA 1787 (66); visible in J. H. Ramberg’s engraving of that exhibition. Engraved J. Corner 1788 (European Mag.; illus. J. Egerton, National Gallery Catalogues, The British School, 1998, p 412).

1792
Painting by M. A. Shee, whole length as the Marquis in Mrs Inchbald’s The Midnight Hour. National Gallery, London (677). Exhibited RA 1792 (205); Third and concluding exhibition of National Portraits (fortieth year of the reign of George the third to MDCCCLXVII), South Kensington, 1868 (109). Engraved J. Jones 1792; H. R. Cook 1812.

1793
Miniature by William Naish, half length; exhibited RA 1793 (430). Engraved W. Hinton; C. Townley. An unfinished half-length painting in the Garrick Club, a monocle in his left hand, shows a comparable head; it has been associated with Naish, and very tentatively with Gilbert Stuart (G. Ashton, Pictures in the Garrick Club, ed. K. A. Burnim & A. Wilton, 1997, no.427). A cruder, unattributed half length, with shorter white hair, belonged to J. Drakeford Lewis in 1935.

1794
Painting by Gainsborough Dupont, see NPG 5148.

c.1795
Anon. engraving, half-length oval, the head resembling Shee’s 1792 portrait.

1798
Drawing by George Dance, profile to right, dated 28 October 1798. British Museum (1898.07.12.25). Original exhibited RA 1799 (456) and engraved W. Daniell 1810 (A Collection of Portraits sketched from the Life since the Year 1973 by George Dance Esqr. R.A. and engraved in imitation of the Original Drawings by William Daniell, A.R.A., 2 vols, 1814).

Miniature by George Chinnery, bust-length oval, engraved W. Ridley 1798 (also published the same year as by A. Pope).

c.1800
Painting by M. A. Shee, half length. Garrick Club (G. Ashton, Pictures in the Garrick Club, ed. K. A. Burnim & A. Wilton, 1997, no.428). From the Thomas Harris sale (lot 40), for which see NPG 5148.

Other depictions of Lewis in character include: painting by Zoffanny, as Tanjore in Reynolds’s Speculation 1795-96 (Garrick Club; G. Ashton, Pictures in the Garrick Club, ed. K. A. Burnim & A. Wilton, 1997, no.429); two paintings by De Wilde, as Copper Captain in Beaumont and Fletcher’s Rule a Wife and have a Wife (engraved J. Thornthwaite 1791, illus. K. A. Burnim & P. H. Highfill, John Bell, patron of British Theatrical Portraiture, 1998, p 182) and as Pharnaces in Hoole’s Cleonice (Garrick Club; G. Ashton, Pictures in the Garrick Club, ed. K. A. Burnim & A. Wilton, 1997, no.426; engraved P. Audinet 1795, illus. K. A. Burnim & P. H. Highfill, John Bell, patron of British Theatrical Portraiture, 1998, p 183); two drawings by De Wilde in the Garrick Club (G. Ashton, Pictures in the Garrick Club, ed. K. A. Burnim & A. Wilton, 1997, nos.424-25) show him as Diddler in Kenney’s Raising the Wind and as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (engraved J. Condé 1791; said to have been the last portrait taken of Lewis).

Doubtful Portraits
Thomas Lawrence exhibited a painting of Mr Lewis, RA 1789 (536), which may, or may not, have been the actor (K. Garlick, Sir Thomas Lawrence: a complete catalogue of the oil paintings, 1989, no.491).



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.