Lot 247
  • 247

THOMAS HUDSON | Portrait of a gentleman in masque dress with Italianate landscape beyond

60,000 - 80,000 USD
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  • Thomas Hudson
  • Portrait of a gentleman in masque dress with Italianate landscape beyond
  • oil on canvas
  • 50 by 40 in.; 127 by 101.6 cm


With Philip Mould, London


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This work has an old lining. The lining remains effective, but it may have been slightly harsh and affected the texture of the paint. The work is generally in good condition. Isolated retouches addressing some cracks in the paint layer are evident under ultraviolet light. The face has developed numerous cracks over the years, and these have been diligently retouched. There may be other retouches beneath the varnish, but it does not seem in any notable amount. The work should be hung as is.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

Thomas Hudson was the most popular and successful portraitist in England during the middle decades of the 18th century. The gentleman here wears extravagant Italian clothing and holds a mask, which appears in others of Hudson’s portraits and may have been a studio prop. Hudson traveled to Italy himself in 1752, although he would also have seen a similar costume in portraits made in Italy and brought home to England by gentlemen returning from the Grand Tour. He led a large studio and likely conceived of the compositions and painted his sitter’s faces while his assistants, notably Alexander and Joseph van Aken, completed the costumes. Hudson often featured sitters in “Van Dyck dress”—a historical, elegant costume for parties, as well as masquerade elements, as wealthy patrons wanted to be portrayed in their party finest. A similar mask appears in Hudson’s Portrait of Sir James Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale sold at Sotheby’s London 5 December 2013 (fig. 1). The landscape with cypress trees viewed through the window behind the present sitter also evokes Italy, hinting at the gentleman’s worldly knowledge and means.

The gentleman’s dramatic pose and elegant attire demonstrate Hudson’s familiarity with fashionable portraiture in both England and Italy in the mid-18th century, which contributed to his success in the genre.