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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

John Sheppard (1702-1724), Criminal

‘Jack Sheppard', criminal; son of a carpenter, brought up in Bishopsgate workhouse, arrested, 1723, as runaway apprentice and effected first of many daring escapes from St Giles's Roundhouse and New Prison; offended the notorious Jonathan Wild who secured his capture; condemned to death at Old Bailey, escaped, and after arrest near Finchley Common escaped again from Newgate; finally taken when in liquor and hanged at Tyburn; subject of many 18th-century plays and ballads and of W. H. Ainsworth's novel of 1839.
Described, aged 22, in the proclamation for his arrest: ‘... five feet 4 inches in height, very slender, of a pale complexion, with an impediment in his speech.' [1]

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1) Dictionary of National Biography, XVIII, p 61.


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.