Rev. Thomas Hutchinson

John Taylor (1739-1838)


This finely drawn half-length portrait shows a Reverend gentleman in a garden landscape wearing an academic cloak over his double-breasted coat and waistcoat with stock and bands, his hat tucked under his arm.

Traditionally this portrait has been held to depict the Reverend Dr. Thomas Hutchinson of Horsham, Sussex. He though was born in 1698 and, given that the artist of the portrait was not born until 1739, he would have been at least sixty years old when this portrait was drawn. The sitter is though more youthful so it seems probable that the portrait depicts his son, also named Thomas Hutchinson, who followed in his father’s footsteps by joining the church.

Thomas junior was born to Thomas and Catherine Hutchinson in 1741. He was educated at Christ Church and Magdalen colleges, Oxford. He was initially appointed vicar of Candlesby, Lincoln but subsequently moved closer to his family home, becoming vicar of Beeding in Sussex. He married Elizabeth Waller in 1762 and had at least one son. He built a house on the site of an old priory and remained there until his death in 1812. The house is still a private family home today.

Plumbago on vellum, the portrait resides in the original deep gilt wood frame. The backing paper has a personal inscription – Richard / with many thanks for / all your help and kindness / Robert / Robert Bayne Powell Collection / August 1977.

The son of a London customs officer, John Taylor studied at St Martin’s Lane Academy before moving to Oxford where he forged a career of painting portraits of the undergraduates and academics. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and the British Institution between 1780 and 1838. Affectionately known as ‘Old Taylor’, he was in his 99th year when he died.

Item Ref. 7093

Size: framed, 200 x 164 x 38mm

Provenance: Robert Bayne-Powell collection ; Richard Allen collection, Bonhams 2014