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Thomas Nickleson (1719-1788)

British (English) School

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

circa 1748

Materials

Oil on canvas

Measurements

540 x 460 mm

Order this image

Collection

Osterley Park and House, London (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Osterley Park, London, London and South East, National Trust

NT 771240

Summary

Oil painting on canvas, Thomas Nickleson (171901788), British (English) School, circa 1748. A half-length portrait of Thomas Nickleson of Post Green House, Dorset, wearing a collarless grey coat over a long yellow-cream waistcoat of silk. His stock and wristbands are visible. The large turned-back cuffs of the coat and long waistcoat date the portrait to between the late 1740s and mid 1750s. The long wig, or natural hair, is worn in curls at the nape of the sitter’s neck. Standing in what appears to be a study, with sky to right. Thomas Nickleson (1719-1788) was a Quaker and a merchant. He built and lived in Post Green House, Lytchett Minster, Dorset. He married Elizabeth Growdon on the 22nd January 1748. A note on the object file quotes a contemporary reference to Thomas Nickelson which stated that he was "a most delightful character. He had three daughters, two of whom married Metfords; no son lived to grow up." He was a great great grandfather of Laura and Mary Metford Badcock, who bequeathed this portrait and that of Nickelson's wife Elizabeth (P. 59-1935) in 1935. In this half-length, three-quarter face portrait Thomas Nickelson is shown as a young cleanshaven man with his dark hair or wig massed behind the neck. He turns towards the spectator's right and stands with his right hand on the open flap of a mid-eighteenth century bureau-cabinet, which reaches to the top of the picture. In his hand he holds a book which is closed with a clasp. Below the pocket book two vessels can be seen through an open window. These, along with the pocket book and the opened letter lying on the bureau-cabinet refer to the sitter's profession of merchant. This portrait is a companion to that of Elizabeth Nickleson (V&A accession number P.59-1935). Both works are of the same dimensions. In this portrait Thomas Nickleson is shown to the left of a window, with a view of ships sailing in Poole Harbour, referring to his local surrounds and profession as Merchant. The companion painting shows Elizabeth Nickleson on the right of a window. Hung together the couple would be seen facing towards each other whilst looking out at the viewer. In P.58-1935 Nickleson stands in what was probably the drawing room of Post Green House. In the left of the composition is a cabinet-bureau, which was also bequeathed to the V&A by Laura and Mary Metford Badcock and came to the V&A as part of their bequest (accession number W.37-1935). Post Green House overlooked Poole Harbour, which can be seen in this painting. This and the presence of the cabinet-bureau suggest that the portrait was painted in the drawing room, one of the most important rooms of this house. In P.59-1935 Elizabeth Nickleson sits on a chair of a similar date to that of the furniture in the portrait of her husband. It is probable that the portrait of Elizabeth is also set in a room at Post Green House. The view from the window does not correspond with the seascape in P.58-1935 and the classical stone architecture does not match the style of the double bayed red brick Post Green House built by Thomas Nickleson. It is likely that this view was created by the artist as was customary at the time. Whilst the building reflects a growing interest in classical architecture in the eighteenth century the Corinthean columns of the building link P.59-1935 with the Corinthean pilasters of the bureau-cabinet in P.58-1925. Similar dress and styling of hair can be seen in the Hayman’s double portrait of himself and Grosvenor Bedford in the National Portrait Gallery (Francis Hayman and Grosvenor Bedford, accession number NPG 217), dating to 1748-1750. It is possible that P.58-1935 and its companion portrait (V&A accession number P.59-1935) were painted on the occasion of the wedding between Thomas Nickelson and Elizabeth Gowdon in 1748. From V&A desciption]

Provenance

On loan from V&A

Makers and roles

British (English) School, artist

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