Edward Thurlow, Baron Thurlow
3 of 37 portraits of Edward Thurlow, Baron Thurlow
- Extended catalogue entry
Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue
Edward Thurlow, Baron Thurlow
by Thomas Phillips
49 in. x 39 in. (1245 mm x 991 mm)
Inscriptionback to top
Signed, lower right: TP[monogram] 1806.
This portraitback to top
A slightly simplified version of the portrait was engraved by Charles Turner in 1808. The plate is inscribed, within the image, bottom right: aet:74:1806 and differs in showing an arched window on the right and a soft hat and two upright leather-bound books on the table covered with a Turkey rug (see c and d below). Phillips painted several further versions: one signed and dated 1807, in the Palace of Westminster, shows a top hat on the table with the two upright books behind it and a large fluted column on the right; it was probably the portrait exhibited at the RA 1806 no.103 (see e and f below). Two further versions are signed and dated 1808 (see h and i below): one in the Inner Temple, showing a single book lying on the table (as in NPG 1264),  the other, virtually identical, sold Christie’s, 22 November 1968, lot 179.
The portraits of 1806-08 appear to use the same face mask, which, in 1823,  was compared with that of an earlier portrait by Phillips (presumably that of 1802, see a below; now untraced); the heads had been painted 'at the distance of three or four years; the first at [Phillips's] house in George Street, Hanover Square, the last at his Lordship's who was then aged, petulant, and infirm - it was but a few months before his death. They were esteemed admirable likenesses'; Thurlow had compared the last with his reflection in a mirror and remarked that ‘you have been very faithful, and I have a still higher opinion of your art’.
The Phillips Sitter Book, which is not a scrupulous document, listed nine portraits of Thurlow, including five copies (note: 3/4 = 76 x 63; h.l. = 127 x 101; l.h.l. = 140 x 112):
a) March 1802 h.l. (no.153) 'for exhibition' (i.e. RA 1802, no.350)
b) April 1806 '3/4' (no.224) '2nd time' 'for exhibition' (i.e. RA 1806, no.18)
c) August 1806 'h.l.' (no.232) '3rd time' 
d) November 1806 'h.l.' (no.238) 'Copy for Ld Erskine' 
e) April 1807 'h.l.' (no.243) '3rd time'
f) July 1807 'l.h.l.' (no.253) 'copy for Mr Thurlow'
g) August 1807 'h.l.' (no.254) 'copy for Mr Ray' 
h-i) 1808 two 'l.h.l.' (after no.268) two copies for the 'present Ld  and for Mrs Browne his daughter'.
Footnotesback to top
1) Sketched by Scharf, Sir George Scharf's Sketch Books, 80/22, 33.
2) Somerset House Gazette, 13 December 1823, p 149.
3) It would appear that NPG 1264 was either c) or d), the other being the three-quarter length portrait exhibited Art Treasures, Manchester, 1857 (British Portrait Gallery 306) and Second special exhibition of National Portraits (William and Mary to MDCCC), South Kensington,
Physical descriptionback to top
Brown eyes, powdered wig, wearing a brown suit, the coat lined with grey and with brass buttons, white stockings; sitting in a red-damask covered chair.
Provenanceback to top
Anon. sale, Christie’s, 1 June 1900, lot 113; presented by Lawrence J. Baker 1900.
Exhibitionsback to top
Royal Courts of Justice 1966-.
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.