HUDSON, Thomas
(b. 1701, Devonshire, 1779, Twickenham)

Portrait of a Lawyer

c. 1745
Oil on canvas, 102 x 127 cm
Private collection

The painting represents a three quarter length portrait of a lawyer sitting at a giltwood console table in an interior, with law-books and papers before him.

Thomas Hudson was by far the leading portrait painter in London for two decades in the middle years of the 18th century. He had arrived in London in the 1720s after the death of Sir Godfrey Kneller, who had dominated London society portraiture for decades. His portrait practice by 1740 was substantial and highly successful, and numerous paintings by him survive. He continued the tradition of Van Dyck and Lely, and maintained a large studio with numerous talented young artists whom he taught: Henry Pickering, Joseph Wright of Derby, Sir Joshua Reynolds and others. He usually employed Joseph Van Aken as his drapery painter, and the consequence is that many of the works of these artists in these two decades are often difficult to distinguish one from another.