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Sir James Thornhill

21 of 1231 portraits matching these criteria:

- subject matching 'Self-portraits'

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G. Walczak, Dietrich Ernst Andreae (c.1695-1734): Monographie und Werkverzeichnis, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Hamburg, pp 123ff., cat.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.

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