Portrait of Thomas Jenkins

This item is active and ready to use
Portrait of Thomas Jenkins
Portrait of Thomas Jenkins
Portrait of Thomas Jenkins
The Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum, New York. III, 42
title=Credit line
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Portrait of Thomas Jenkins
c.1752-53 (undated)
Black chalk and stump heightened with white chalk, on green-grey paper
Metric: 272 x 198 mm
Imperial: 10 3/4 x 7 13/16 in.
Accession Number
E. 18.17
Wilson Online Reference
Detroit & Philadelphia 1968 (1); London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982-83 (24); Tercentenary 2014 (2)
William Lock of Norbury, bt directly from the artist; his sale, Sotheby's, London 3-7 May 1821 (probably part of lot 387 - six drawings catalogued as 'Varia Costumi Italia',fine); James (according to Fairfax Murray); A. W. Thibaudeau; his sale, London, Sotheby Wilkinson & Hodge, 9 December 1889 (1142); Charles Fairfax Murray, London; from whom bt 1910 by J. Pierpont Morgan (no mark; see Lugt 1509)
Unsigned; no inscription
Techniques and materials
The varied application of chalk confirms a date early within Wilson's Roman period.
Verso inscriptions
[1] Unknown hand in pen and brown ink [probably William Lock, not Wilson]: Jenkings;
[2] Numbered in pencil: 387/6;
[3] Inscribed below: Locks sale 1821
[4] Inscribed below: Wilson del.
This portrait is that of Wilson's travelling companion, colleague and friend in Rome, the painter, banker and dealer, Thomas Jenkins (1722-1798). The sitter's identity derives from the inscription on the back of the sheet, which may be in the hand of William Lock, who acquired the drawing directly from the artist. Jenkins was living with Wilson in Rome in a house in the Piazza di Spagna in 1753. That would make him aged 31 as shown here.
Related Works by Other Artists
Angelica Kauffmann (1741-1807): Thomas Jenkins and his Niece, Anna Maria , 1790, National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG 5044)
Critical commentary
Probably made early in Wilson's stay in Rome, where Jenkins arrived with the artist in late 1751, having travelled from Venice together with William Lock of Norbury in his carriage. In 1753 Wilson was recorded as living with Jenkins in or near the Piazza di Spagna and Jenkins had become his unofficial agent, liaising with potential clients and facilitating the despatch of pictures to Britain. Something of their closeness is tangible in the informality of this characterisation. At the time of its execution, the young Jenkins himself was still known principally as a working artist. Ford compared the stylistic handling of this drawing with that of D161 Head of an Italian, Victoria and Albert Museum, noting the rendering in the dark shadow of the eye sockets and the handling of the collar and cuff.
Previous Cat/Ref Nos
Collection J. Pierpont Morgan, Drawings by the Old Masters Formed by C. Fairfax Murray, London, privately printed, 1905-12, vol. 3, 42, repr.; Ashby 1913, Vol. 6, no. 8, pp. 487-511; Ford 1951, p. 54, pl. 20; WGC, pl. 11a; S. Rowland Pierce, 'Thomas Jenkins in Rome', The Antiquaries Journal, vol. 45, no. 2 (1965), pp. 225–229; F. Cummings, R. Rosenblum & A. Staley Romantic Art in Britain - Paintings and Drawings 1760-1860, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1968, pp. 32-34; Sutton & Clements 1968, vol. 2, p. 5, fig. 5; B. Ford, 'Thomas Jenkins, Banker, Dealer and unofficial English Agent', Apollo, vol. 99, June 1974, pp. 416-25; Solkin 1982, pp. 158-59; G. Vaughan, 'Thomas Jenkins and his international Clientele', Antikensammlungen des europaischen Adels in 18 Jahrhundert, ed. A. Borschung, A. H. von Hesberg (1996. Mainz); I. Bignamini, 'British Conquerors of the Marbles, 2 Thomas Jenkins as Connoisseur', in I. Bignamini and C. Hornsby, Digging And Dealing in Eighteenth-Century Rome (2010, Yale), pp. 208–21; Spencer-Longhurst 2012, pp. 69-70, fig. 40; Wilson and Europe 2014, pp. 206-7
Link to WG Constable Archive Record