1 of 10 portraits by Thomas Kerrich
- Extended catalogue entry
Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue
by Thomas Kerrich
17 in. x 11 3/4 in. (433 mm x 300 mm) uneven
Inscriptionback to top
Signed in ink verso: T. Kerrich/ipse fecit/L’Arricia 1774.
This portraitback to top
The least orthodox of a number of accomplished self-portrait drawings which Kerrich made in Italy.  When he went abroad in 1771 his mentor William Cole described him as ‘an ingenious young man, a brother antiquary, and a most excellent draftsman’,  and in the course of his travels one of his drawings obtained a silver medal from the Academy of Painting at Antwerp.  After his return to Cambridge Kerrich continued to draw both antiquarian subjects and portraits,  Cole even suggesting that
‘as his fortunes are very small and his genius very great, I took the liberty, when I sat to him for my picture at his room in college last autumn, to tell him that I thought he had better give up his design of going into orders ... and take up with the better profession of a face painter, for which he seems admirably calculated'. 
In the event, bolstered by several benefices, Kerrich pursued a productive antiquarian career.
Footnotesback to top
1) One dated 1775, sold Sotheby’s 22 March 2000, lot 137 (and at least two more were in that sale - lots 129, 135-37 and 142 each comprising a folio/album of Kerrich drawings); others include those sold Christie’s, 11 February 1987, lot 125; and 21 March 1989, lot 87, dated 1774.
2) The Rev Wm. Cole, 17 Nov. 1771 ('Rev Thomas Kerrich, F.S.A.', in Nichols Illustrations, VI, 1831, p 811n).
3) 'Rev Thomas Kerrich, F.S.A.', in J. Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth century ... intended as a sequel to The Literary Anecdotes, VI, 1831, p 812.
4) See 'Rev Thomas Kerrich, F.S.A.', in J. Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth century ... intended as a sequel to The Literary Anecdotes, 1831, p 814 (list of etchings by Kerrich c.1782-85); p 816 (list a portrait drawings engraved by G. S. Facius).
5) Not dated (Wal. Corr., II, p 83n8), but probably 1780 since Kerrich drew a portrait of Cole in 1779 (ibid., p 182n16) cf. the drawing in the British Museum (1972-U-536), illus. A Noble Art, British Museum, 2000, no.156.
Provenanceback to top
Hugh Wyatt, a descendant of one of the artist’s daughters;1 Sotheby’s, 22 March 2000, lot 128, ‘Property of a Descendant of the Artist’, bought Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, from whom purchased with the aid of the National Art Collections Fund 2000.
1 I am grateful to Sir John Guinness for this identification (letter 10 Jan. 2001, NPG archive).
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 Thomas Kerrich