Thomas Patch

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Thomas Patch

by Thomas Patch
etching, late 1760s
11 3/8 in. x 13 5/8 in. (290 mm x 345 mm) plate size
Purchased with funding from the Elizabeth Weisz Fund, 2011
Primary Collection
NPG 6913

Sitterback to top

  • Thomas Patch (1725-1782), Painter and engraver. Sitter associated with 3 portraits, Artist or producer associated with 5 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Thomas Patch (1725-1782), Painter and engraver. Artist or producer associated with 5 portraits, Sitter associated with 3 portraits.

This portraitback to top

This unusual self-portrait shows Patch with a bull's body and horns seated in the countryside outside Florence, a background which is found again in Patch's painted portrait of John Ker, 3rd Duke of Roxburghe. The print comes from the engraved series, 'The Twenty-Five Caricatures', most of which are dated 1769 or 1770. The design for this self-portrait is seen in reverse, as a painting hanging on the wall in the background of one of Patch's caricature groups (Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter). The proverb given in Latin and Italian translates as 'he that humbleth himself shall be exalted' and the Greek can be translated as 'the impression of a man'. By portraying himself with the body of a bull, coupled with Latin, Italian and Greek inscriptions that relate to his humiliation , this portrait provides an insight into Patch's artistic practice, personality and self-perception after his exile from Rome.

Placesback to top

  • Place portrayed: Italy (countryside outside Florence, Italy)

Events of 1767back to top

Current affairs

Birth of Prince Edward, fourth son of George III and father of Queen Victoria.
Chancellor, Charles Townshend, passes a series of acts - the 'Townshend Duties' - taxing all glass, lead, paint, paper and tea imported into the American colonies.
Work begins on Edinburgh's New Town, to the design of the 23-year-old architect James Craig.

Art and science

Josiah Spode establishes the Spode pottery manufactory at Stoke-on-Trent.
Philosopher and chemist Joseph Priestley publishes The History and Present State of Electricity.
First annual Nautical Almanac is produced by Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne, allowing mariners to find their longitude while at sea, using tables of lunar distances.


'Townshend Duties' cause uproar in America.
First Anglo-Mysore War breaks out between between the Sultanate of Mysore Hyder Ali and the East India Company.
Jesuits are expelled from Spain.
Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon complete a four-year survey to establish the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland; the Mason-Dixon line.

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