Thomas Knox, 1805

Richard Bankes Harraden


This painted silhouette with gold highlights portrays a Cambridge graduate in his academic gown worn over a frilled chemise and knotted stock. An inscription written on the reverse of the frame in the artist’s hand dates the portrait to ‘Anno 1805’ and names the sitter as ‘Thomas Knox, Viscount Ranfurly’.

Born in 1786, Thomas Knox was the first son of Thomas Knox, 1st Earl of Ranfurly. He was educated at St John’s College, Cambridge. In 1812 he became MP for Tyrone in Ireland, then MP for Dungannon and, in 1840, he succeeded his father in the earldom and joined the House of Lords. By marrying the daughter of the Archbishop of Armagh in 1815, Knox became the son-in-law of Sophia Margaret Penn who was the granddaughter of William Penn, Founder of Pennsylvania.

The silhouette is painted on card in shades of black with gold details and is presented in the original papier-mâché frame with a star hanger.

Richard Bankes Harraden (1778-1862) spent some time in Paris and London before settling with his father, also an artist, in Cambridge. He wrote several books describing and illustrating university costume including Costume of the Various Orders in the University of Cambridge published in 1805. He also exhibited local landscape paintings.

Item Ref. 5989

Size: framed, 139 x 116mm (5½ x 4⅝")