The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Thomas Secker (1693-1768), Archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop of Canterbury; born of dissenting parents at Sibthorpe, Notts; educated at Chesterfield grammar school, at Attercliffe (a dissenting academy) and Tewkesbury Theological Academy; studied medicine in London and Paris, 1716-20; MD Leyden, 1721; ordained 1722; rector of Houghton-le-Spring, Durham, 1724, and prebendary of Durham, 1727; rector of St James's, Westminster, 1732; bishop of Bristol, 1735, and of Oxford, 1737; dean of St Paul's, 1750; archbishop of Canterbury, 1758; crowned George III, 1761; best known for his Lectures on the Catechism of the Church of England, published posthumously, 1769.

‘... tall and comely; in the early part of his life slender, and rather consumptive, but as he advanced in years, his constitution gained strength, and his size increased, yet never to a degree of corpulency that was disproportionate or troublesome ... His countenance was open, ingenuous, and expressive of everything right ... It could speak dejection, and on occasion anger, very strongly. But when it meant to show pleasure or approbation, it softened into the most gracious smile, and diffused over all his features the most benevolent and reviving complacency that can be imagined.' [1]

Footnotesback to top

1) The Works of Thomas Secker, LL.D. Late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. To which is prefixed a Review of His Grace's Life and Character by Beilby Porteus, D.D., 1811.

Referencesback to top

The Works of Thomas Secker, LL.D. Late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. To which is prefixed a Review of His Grace's Life and Character by Beilby Porteus, D.D., 1811.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, 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.