Hudson was a celebrated 18th century portrait painter. Born in Devon in 1701 he studied under the artist Jonathan Richardson and married his daughter –against Richardson’s wishes.
He had many artistic friends including William Hogarth and Francis Hayman and travelled with them in Europe in 1748. He also visited Italy with the sculptor Louis-François Roubiliac in 1752. Hudson’s style of portraiture proved so successful that for a decade from 1745 to 1755 he was London’s most popular portrait painter and made a fortune painting the cream of London society and members of the Royal Family.
He was also a talented teacher – perhaps too good, as subsequently a number of his former assistants overtook him in popularity including the artist Joshua Reynolds. Hudson retired in the late 1750’s and died in Twickenham in 1779. His most notable works include portraits of King George II and George Friedrich Handel and his “Portrait of a Nobleman in Van Dyck dress.”
Many of Hudson’s works may be seen in art galleries. These include the National Portrait Gallery, the National Maritime Museum, the Tate Gallery, the Foundling Museum and the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery. His works are also in Museums across the world.
(Hudson employed the specialist drapery painter Joseph van Aken for the clothing in this portrait).
Ellen G. Miles, Thomas Hudson (1701–1779) Portraitist to the British Establishment, PhD thesis, Yale 1976, pub. University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor
Ellen G. Miles and Jacob Simon, Thomas Hudson, 1979, Kenwood House