Lot 247
  • 247

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

60,000 - 80,000 USD
62,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Thomas Hudson
  • Portrait of a gentleman in masque dress with Italianate landscape beyond
  • oil on canvas


With Philip Mould, London

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.