William Sims

1 portrait of William Sims

William Sims, by Charles Turner, published by  John Clay, after  James Lonsdale, published 16 December 1816 - NPG D41710 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

  • Larger Image
  • Image zoom
  • Buy a print
  • Use this image
  • ShareShare this

William Sims

by Charles Turner, published by John Clay, after James Lonsdale
mezzotint, published 16 December 1816
20 1/8 in. x 14 7/8 in. (510 mm x 379 mm) paper size
Purchased with help from the Friends of the National Libraries and the Pilgrim Trust, 1966
Reference Collection
NPG D41710

Sitterback to top

  • William Sims, Collector of the customs. Sitter in 1 portrait.

Artistsback to top

  • John Clay (active 1816), Printseller. Artist associated with 1 portrait.
  • James Lonsdale (1777-1839), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 106 portraits, Sitter in 5 portraits.
  • Charles Turner (1773-1857), Engraver. Artist associated with 619 portraits, Sitter in 2 portraits.

Placesback to top

Events of 1816back to top

Current affairs

Marriage of Princess Charlotte to Leopold I.
Income Tax abolished.
Unsuccessful Spa Fields Riot led by the ultra-radical Arthur Thistlewood which aimed to attack the Tower of London and the Bank of England and set up a ruling 'Committee of Public Safety' following the French model.

Art and science

Jane Austen publishes Emma.
Leeds and Liverpool Canal completed.

International

British Government buys the Elgin Marbles, taken from the Acropolis in Athens by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, and brought to England between 1803 and 1812. Their acquisition prompts support from Thomas Lawrence and Benjamin Robert Haydon and condemnation from Lord Byron.
Slave rebellion fails in Barbados; four hundred slaves are executed.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

Gary Carter

11 February 2018, 05:08

William Sims, was my 5x great grandfather I would like use the picture of him on my family tree site.

William Sims worked for HM Customs for 60 years and retired in 1813 as Collector of Customs. Jane Hobbins Wade (1760-1838), married William Sims (1735-1822), his second marriage, on 10th January 1882 and went on to have six children with him in London. Arabella (1782), Robert Hobbins (1784), Reynard Edward (1786), Frederick (b1786), Alfred (1793) and Felicia (1794). Jane and William had an unhappy marriage and Jane left him to go to NSW.

Jane received a commission from the Macquarie government to be Midwife to the colony of NSW, a task she carried out for two years before taking up teaching. They travelled to NSW in 1810, on board the ship Friend, arriving in 1811. Jane was then 50 with two adult children, Alfred and Felicia. Their passages were paid by the government. Life was not easy for Jane in the new colony, despite land grants for her status as midwife to the colony. Elizabeth or Felicia as she was called, married a Wexford convict scholar Isaac Woods, they went on to establish the Sydney Academy (a forerunner to Sydney Grammar). Felicia died at the young age of 28 in 1821 and Isaac died 2 years later in 1823, sadly leaving their children in the care their Grandmother Jane. At the time Alfred was having his own health problems from a snake bite and his wife Mary Anne had breast cancer.

Jane wrote many letters to the Governor for assistance and at one stage, even for return passage to England, all to no avail. In the end, due to Janes age and poor health, all 4 of Felicia's children became orphans with various institutes and people. The youngest Louisa Wood was sent the Parramatta girls orphanage and had to co-habit with some of the Parramatta Female Factory children. She would have been traumatised by this change in her life style and died at the early age of 8 in 1829.

In February 1813, two years after Jane left, William was awarded a pension of £1550 in recognition of his years of government service.The Will gave Jane a shilling and the Australian children received nothing. Williams comment in relation to Jane stated; “To Jane Hobbins, formerly Jane Wade, to whom I was unfortunately married, but from whom I have many years since been divorced or separated, the sum of 1 shilling, that upon receiving the same, she gives a discharge accordingly to my executors”.

William’s will outlined a number of substantial bequests to his England-domiciled children and grandchildren only. At the time he made his will in 1817 he was living in Great Surry Street, Christchurch, Middlesex, probably at the same address as his daughter Arabella, who had married Thomas Watson Esq, who also worked for HM Customs. (William’s son Reynard also worked for HM Customs.)

William was painted by the artist Charles Turner and the work was published in 1816; the portrait is held by London’s National Portrait Gallery.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.

Citationclose

How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.