The Country Squire

Sampson Towgood Roch


This well modelled portrait shows a gentleman of ruddy complexion with a chiselled nose, dimpled chin and curly side-whiskers. He is smartly dressed in a navy blue double-breasted tail-coat with buttonholes on the lapel and a white waistcoat with a standing collar; these distinctive fashion elements date the portrait to around 1810.

Although unsigned, the portrait has the documented characteristics of Roche’s work including its well-finished execution, shading under the eyes, and the incipient smile that he was renowned for giving many of his sitters.

The portrait is housed in the original papier-mâché frame with a decorative surround and a theatrical mask hanger suggesting that the sitter may have had a connection with the stage.

Sampson Towgood Roch / Roche (1757-1847) was the eldest son of William and Mary Roch of Youghal, Co. Cork. Despite being born deaf and dumb, he showed an early talent for drawing. He worked first in Dublin and Cork before moving for a time to Bath to join the many successful artists who worked there at the height of its popularity as a spa resort. Roch was held to be one of the most talented and sensitive miniaturists of his day and counted royalty amongst his clients. It is said that he declined a Royal Honour on account of his disability. Roch married his cousin Melian Roch in 1787. The couple did not have any family and she died in Bath in 1822. Roch later retired to his wife’s ancestral home in Waterford and was ninety years of age when he died.

Item Ref. 6247

Size: framed, 154 x 140mm (6 x 5½")