Chantry Fine Art Collection
Subject: Portrait of Robert Butcher of Walthamstow
Artist: Thomas Hudson (1701-
Provenance: see below
Date: c1740 Size: 30”x25”
Frame: 19th century and sympathetic to the subject -
Details: Born in Devon, Hudson started as a pupil of Jonathan Richardson and later married one of his daughters. His work was also influenced by Jean Baptiste Van Loo, the ‘rage’ of London in the late 1770s.
Sir Joshua Reynolds became one of Hudson’s students from 1740-
But the story has a happy ending. When his first wife died Hudson married a wealthy widow, Mrs.Fiennes, and no longer needed to compete in the market place. He died in Twickenham in 1779.
This very finely painted portrait dating from circa 1740 is typical of Hudson’s style and finish, but as it has no firm provenance it was attributed by Messrs Christie’s to Hudson’s circle, not necessarily by Hudson himself, though in our opinion it is good enough to merit full attribution.
The portrait is of Mr. Robert Butcher, a well to do merchant from Walthamstow. No further details of him are known but he was born circa 1700 and was aged about 40 when it was painted.
His daughter Hilaire, born circa 1735, married a wealthy mercer, William Barlow of Bath, born circa 1725. Two of their children, Admiral Sir Robert Barlow and Sir George Hilaire Barlow, had distinguished careers.
Admiral Sir Robert Barlow (1757-
Two weeks after war was declared he seized the French privateer Patriote off Gravelines, the first naval engagement of the war, for which feat he was promoted to post captain and given command of the frigate HMS Pegasus.
His subsequent career was distinguished by a series of successes in minor naval actions, capturing several French vessels. The most interesting of these was the capture in 1801, after a fierce battle, of the French frigate Africaine which had been transporting French troops to Egypt. He caused over 300 casualties, with only 13 losses to his own company. For this he was Knighted and given command of the ship of the line, HMS Triumph.
His later career was spent largely ashore, becoming deputy controller of the navy, before his appointment as superintendant of Chatham Dockyard. In 1823 he was retired as a Rear Admiral, spending his retirement in Canterbury.
He was recalled to the Navy in 1840 to receive a belated promotion to full Admiral and advancement to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. He died in the archbishops palace at Canterbury in 1843. His wife predeceased him by 26 years, but two of his daughters married well, one becoming Viscountess Torrington, the other Countess Nelson, wife of the first Earl Nelson.
Sir George Hilario Barlow (1762-
Sadly, he was not a success in this post; his lack of tact and passion for economy caused a mutiny of his officers in 1809, eventually leading to his recall to England in 1812. He lived the rest of his life in retirement, though not without honours, being appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, like his brother.
The portrait of Robert Butcher, the founder of this distinguished line, is in excellent condition and is held within a good early 19th century frame, not the original.
Please note the following: Chantry Fine Art are happy to supply buyers with a photographic image of this item and believe that all of the details given are correct to the best of their knowledge. Buyers may wish to carry out their own research and again, Chantry Fine Art are more than happy to supply any information that might assist -
Digital reproduction through cameras and monitor screens may not render the true colours of the portraits.
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