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Thomas Hudson

reynolds, italy and portrait

HUDSON, THOMAS, was born in Devonshire in 1701. He came to London and became the pupil of Richardson the painter, and married his daughter. After the death of Gervas and Richardson, Hudson was the most successful portrait-painter in London, and, not withstanding the rivalry of Vanloo and Liotard, he enjoyed the ohief business in portrait-painting until the return of his pupil Reynolds from Italy, when, though he professed not to admire his pupil's inno vation in portraiture, he gave up business and retired to his villa at Twickenham. Northcote describes an interview between Hudson and Reynolds in 1752, soon after the return of the latter from Italy, though he does not vouch for the fact : Hudson called on Reynolds to see a much-talked-of head of a boy with a Turkish head-dress—it was the portrait of the Italian boy Marchi, whom Reynolds had brought with him from Italy ; "perceiving," says Northcote, "no trace of his own manner left, Hudson exclaimed, ' By God, Reynolds, you don't paint so well as when you left England I ' " Hudson himself had also just returued front Italy : he visited Remo, together with Roubiliac.

He entered Italy as Reynolds was leaving it, and the rising and setting stars of portraiture in England met on Mount Cenis in their passage over tho Alps.

There is little to be said in commendation of Hudson's style : he was of the Kneller school ; he made fair transcripts of his models, with little variety of posture, and not much more of costume. His masterpiece is the family piece of Charles duke of Marlborough, now in the hall at Blenheim. Many of his works were engraved in mezzo tint by the younger John Faber. A portrait of Handel by Hudson in the Picture Gallery at Oxford is said to be the only portrait that the great composer ever at for. There is a portrait by Hudson of Arch bishop Potter in the some collection. Hudson was rich and contented. He had at his villa at Twickenham a good collection of cabinet pictures and drawings by great masters ; many of the latter were purchased at the sale of Richardson's excellent collection. He sur vived Bichardson's daughter, and married Mrs. Fiennes, a lady of fortune, and to her he bequeathed his villa. He died in January 1779.