Sir John Norris (1670/1-1749) Admiral of the Fleet

  • About the work
    Country: Sweden
    City: Stockholm
    Place: British Embassy

    This is one of three similar portraits of Sir John Norris, each by different artists. Two are in the collection of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich: a signed 1711 portrait by Godfrey Kneller and a less flattering portrait by George Napton, which was presented to Greenwich Hospital by the sitter’s granddaughter in 1797. A mezzotint print of 1741, engraved and published by Thomas Burford, may be partly based on Kneller’s portrait and partly on Napton’s. In addition a marble bust of the sitter, made in 1749-50 by sculptor Peter Scheemakers, is at Benenden church in Kent, where Norris was buried.

  • About the artist
    Thomas Hudson (1701-1779) was a portrait painter and an art collector from Devon. He was a pupil of the English artist and collector Jonathan Richardson (1665–1745), whose daughter Mary he had married by 1725. Hudson worked primarily in the West Country prior to Richardson’s retirement from painting in 1740; after this date his reputation grew in the capital as he inherited Richardson’s former clients. He is thought to have painted around 400 portraits over the course of his career, an output which was aided by his employment of the Flemish artist working in England, Joseph van Aken (c.1699–1749). He also later employed his brother Alexander (1701–1757) as a drapery painter. Hudson was one of a number of prominent artists who met at Old Slaughter’s Coffee House in London in the mid 1740s, at a time before formal artistic academies had been established in Britain. Other painters who frequented the coffee house include William Hogarth (1697–1764), Francis Hayman (c.1708–1776), Allan Ramsay (1713–1784), and the sculptor John Michael Rysbrack (c.1684–1770). Hudson also travelled to France and the Low Countries in 1748 with Hogarth, Hayman and van Aken. In 1752 he visited Rome, as many British artists were increasingly to do, with the sculptor Louis-François Roubiliac (1695–1762).Among the list of Hudson’s apprentices are Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792), Joseph Wright of Derby (1734–1797), and John Hamilton Mortimer (1740–1779). After the mid 1760s Hudson received less work and soon retired to Twickenham, where he died in 1779.
  • Explore
    Norris, Sir John
    Materials & Techniques
    canvas, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Sir John Norris (1670/1-1749) Admiral of the Fleet
    Oil on canvas
    height: 125.00 cm, width: 100.00 cm
    Purchased from Thomas Edwards & Son, 1953
    GAC number