- Extended Catalogue Entry
attributed to Sir James Thornhill
chalk and pencil, 1724
12 3/4 in. x 9 7/8 in. (324 mm x 251 mm)
Artistback to top
- Sir James Thornhill (1675 or 1676-1734), Father-in-law of William Hogarth, decorative painter and politician; MP for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis. Artist associated with 23 portraits, Sitter associated with 14 portraits.
This portraitback to top
When folk hero John Sheppard was finally captured and condemned to death, Sir James Thornhill paid Sheppard's jailors so that he could draw him shortly before his execution. Sheppard had been convicted for burglary but his escapes from prison had won him fame and popular support. Thornhill's sympathetic portrait circulated widely as an engraving, generating money and prestige for the artist. A poem in the British Journal, addressed to Thornhill, told how:
Thy Pencil brings a kind Reprieve,
And bids the dying Robber live.
More detailed information on this portrait is available in a National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue, John Kerslake's Early Georgian Portraits (1977, out of print).
Related worksback to top
Linked publicationsback to top
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- The Art of Drawing: Portraits from the Collection, 1670-1780 (19 October 2012 - 19 May 2013)
Events of 1724back to top
Current affairsNotorious thief and jailbreaker John 'Jack' Sheppard is hanged at Tyburn.
General George Wade is sent to inspect Scotland, initiating an 11-year program of road improvement and bridge building in the Scottish Highlands.
Art and scienceFirst of Jonathan Swift's Drapier's Letters is published; one of seven pamphlets railing against the debasement of Irish coinage.
Blenheim Palace is presented as a gift to the Duke of Marlborough for his involvement in the Battle of Blenheim in 1704.
InternationalThomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle becomes Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Pope Benedict XIII succeeds Pope Innocent XIII as the 245th pope.
King Philip V of Spain abdicates the throne.
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