Sir James Thornhill

1 portrait by Dietrich Ernst Andreae

Sir James Thornhill, by Dietrich Ernst Andreae, circa 1724-1726 -NPG 4688 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

Sir James Thornhill

attributed to Dietrich Ernst Andreae
circa 1724-1726
18 in. x 16 in. (457 mm x 406 mm) oval
NPG 4688

This portraitback to top

Accepted in 1969 as a self portrait by Thornhill, but the execution is noticeably more restrained than in other known Thornhill portraits. Gerrit Walczak [1] suggested NPG 4688 is rather a portrait of Thornhill by Dietrich Andreae, his assistant at the Painted Hall at Greenwich. NPG 4688 relates directly to the full-length figure of Thornhill painted on the west wall at Greenwich c.1724-26; Hogarth, Thornhill’s son-in-law, wrote that some of the west wall portraits were by Andreae, [2] and that ‘… the upper end of the hall where the royal family is painted, was left chiefly to the pencil of Mr Andrea a foreigner …’. [3] In the Thornhill sale of 24-25 February 1735 Vertue noticed ‘Sr J. Thornhill a small oval head his picture by (Andrea)’. [4]

Footnotesback to top

1) Letters on file of 10 June and 3 September 2000.
2) ‘Sir James Thornhill, in a too modest compliance with the connoisseurs of his time, called in the assistance of Mr Andre, a foreigner, famous for the fullness of his outlines, to paint the royal family at the upper end of the Greenwich Hall …’ (‘Britophil’, St James’s Evening Post, 7 June 1737, reprinted in J. Ireland, Hogarth Illustrated, 1791, I, p liv).
3) W. Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, 1753, ed. J. Burke, 1955, p 132n. Farington, confusingly, noted that ‘the Portraits of George 1st &c in the recess at the end of the Hall where a portrait of Sir James Thornhhill is introduced, are very much inferior to the ceiling & could not have been painted by the same hand’ - but he believed the ceiling was ‘executed by a foreigner of the name of Andrea’ (20 August 1820).
4) G. Vertue, Notebooks, Wal. Soc., XXII, 1934, p 74; the brackets round Andrea’s name are Vertue’s.

Referenceback to top

Kerslake 1977
J. Kerslake, National Portrait Gallery, Early Georgian Portraits, p 279 as a self portrait by Thornhill.

Simon & Saywell (eds.) 2004
Complete Illustrated Catalogue, NPG, ed. J. Simon & D. Saywell, 2004, p 615 attributed to Andreae.

Walczak n.d.
G. Walczak, Dietrich Ernst Andreae (c.1695-1734): Monographie und Werkverzeichnis, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Hamburg, pp 123ff., cat. no.23 as by Andreae.

Provenanceback to top

Presented by Douglas H. Gordon of Baltimore MA 1969.1

1 A note from John Kerslake on file, 1978, from conversations he had had with Gordon, states he had been given the picture by an American dealer in the 1940s as a portrait of John Thornton.

This extended catalogue entry is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, National Portrait Gallery, 2009, 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 Sir James Thornhill