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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Thomas Secker (1693-1768), Archbishop of Canterbury

A three-quarter length by Charles Philips, owned by the Diocese of Oxford, is inscribed, signed and dated THOS SECKER/LD BP of Oxford/Afterwd. Ld. of CANTERBURY/GIVEN BY WM. NEWCOMBE/CPhilips pinxt. 1740/LD BP of Dromore/To the Bishop of Oxford/And his Diocessors/1772. [1] A second portrait has been variously attributed to Willes and Hudson. A mezzotint lettered T. Willes Pinxit. J. M. Ardell Fecit, 1747 was re-issued, retouched and somewhat altered, [2] in or after 1758 when lettered Done from an Original Picture, by T. Hudson, in the Vestry of St James's Church. The portrait, cut down as a result of war damage, is still at St James's, Piccadilly. A head and shoulders in a painted oval, unattributed and apparently of the same type, acquired by Sion College [3] before 1777, is now at St Paul's. A three-quarter length at Christ Church, Oxford, stated to be from an original in the Chapter House by 1770 is inscribed THOMAS SECKER LL.D. ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY 1758. GIVEN BY DR. DAN BURTON with copyist's signature BARWICK AFTER HUDSON 1764. [4] Burton is likely to be Daniel Barton DD (d. 1775) and the copyist, in view of the form of the signature, is probably J. Barwick (fl. 1844-49) rather than Hudson's contemporary of the same name. [5] Another copy of the portrait is at Exeter College.

'Willes' is not known and the artist may conceivably be the Rev. James Wills (see Thomas Birch, and William Stukeley, All Known Portraits). The inscription and date of the Christ Church portrait, and the McArdell engravings, seem to point to the existence of originals by both artists, the Hudson possibly deriving from the other.

Another type, a three-quarter length at Lambeth Palace, is attributed to Ramsay. The signature A. Ramsay and an illegible date are visible on a photograph taken by the Courtauld Institute in 1956. No trace of either could be discerned on the portrait itself when last examined in 1968.

1) So read by Scharf, Sir George Scharf's Trustees' Sketchbooks, vol.76, p 20.
2) G. Goodwin, James McArdell, 1903, pp 18-19 (4).
3) Society of Anglican Clergy in the City, founded 1630, whose collection of portraits mainly of bishops of London is now at St Paul's.
4) R. L. Poole, Catalogue of Portraits in the Possession of the University, Colleges, City and County of Oxford, 1912-25, III, pp 68-69 (178).
5) Ibid.


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.