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Maurice Suckling

2 of 4 portraits by Thomas Bardwell

Maurice Suckling, by Thomas Bardwell, 1764 -NPG 2010 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Maurice Suckling

by Thomas Bardwell
1764
49 1/2 in. x 39 1/2 in. (1257 mm x 1003 mm)
NPG 2010

Inscriptionback to top

Signed bottom left: TBardwell.f.1764; inscribed, bottom right: MAURICE SUCKLING/by Bardwell/1764.

This portraitback to top

Bardwell painted several members of the Suckling family. [1] NPG 2010 was described in 1905 as showing Captain Suckling ‘seated in front of the portrait (also by Bardwell) of his cousin, young Robert Suckling, of Woodton, and ...probably executed at Woodton-hall a few months before that officer’s marriage with his cousin, the Hon. Mary Walpole’ [2] - which took place on 20 June 1764. Farrer in 1905 made no mention of Robert Suckling’s portrait being visible. [3] Was it identified just by the frame in the left background? NPG 2010 has been relined and no evidence survives of the canvas having been reduced; the position of Bardwell’s signature, bottom left, seems against it, and the figure of Suckling is far too small to fit a whole-length composition. [4] The other Suckling portraits by Bardwell were three-quarter lengths.
A modern half-length copy was acquired by the National Maritime Museum in 1948 (BHC 3045) [5] with unattributed portraits of Suckling’s parents.

Footnotesback to top

1) See M. Kirby Talley, 'Thomas Bardwell', Wal. Soc., 1978, p.94, and nos.100-103, 140, 147.
2) ‘F.S.’ in Norfolk and Norwich Notes and Queries, 3rd ser., Jan. 1905, pp 111-12, and repeated by E. Mann, Old Bungay, 1934, pp 213-14; as quoted by M. Kirby Talley, 'Thomas Bardwell', Wal. Soc., 1978, no.102.
3) E. Farrer, Portraits in Suffolk Houses (East), 1921, I, p 63, no.19; M. Kirby Talley, 'Thomas Bardwell', Wal. Soc., 1978, no.103; painted in 1756 and last recorded with the Suckling family in 1930.
4) Bardwell sometimes used a 140 x 119 (55 x 47) canvas (e.g. M. Kirby Talley, 'Thomas Bardwell', Wal. Soc., 1978, nos.5,6 & 73), but this still would not allow a recognisable portrait to appear in the frame shown in NPG 2010.
5) H. Nelson-Ward, a cousin of Thomas Suckling, commissioned a copy of NPG 2010 in 1924 (letters of 11 & 16 April 1924; NPG archive).

Physical descriptionback to top

Brown eyes, white powdered wig, wearing captain’s uniform; on the table ink well, quill, wax and illegibly inscribed papers.

Provenanceback to top

1 Given by the sitter to his nephew, Horatio Nelson; his daughter Lady Charlotte (who married 1810 the 2nd Baron Bridport); their son, 1st Viscount Bridport, Cricket St Chard, from whom bought in June 1896 by Capt. T. Suckling RN (d. 1922), Barsham, Norfolk,2 and Highwood, Hants., bequeathed by him, subject to the life interest of his wife, and received 1924.

1 This provenance recorded in a label formerly attached to the frame of NPG 2010.
2 Where listed in 1905 (E. Farrer, Portraits in Suffolk Houses (East), 1921, I, p 62, no.14).


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, 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.

View all known portraits for Maurice Suckling