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 Thomas Worlidge  (1700 - 1766)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom      Known for: portrait painting, miniatures

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Thomas Worlidge (1700-1766)

A portrait painter and etcher, he was born in Peterborough, Cambs, in 1700, and died in Hammersmith (now London), on September 22, 1766.

Worlidge took drawing lessons from Genoese painter Alessandro Maria Grimaldi (1659-1732), and went to Birmingham c.1736 with Grimaldi's son Alexander where he worked as a glass painter.  He married Grimaldi's daughter, Arabella, and moved to London in the mid-1730s.  They lived in Covent Garden, London's theater district, and his early works were often theatrical portraits.  He made a drawing on vellum of Theophilus Cibber (1735; Windsor Castle, Berks, Royal Col.), a painting of David Garrick as Tancred (c. 1745; London, V&A) and a miniature of the mimic Samuel Foote (London, V&A).  His watercolor of the comic actress Kitty Clive as the Fine Lady in Garrick's 'Lethe' (untraced) was copied for a Bow porcelain figurine (c. 1750-52).

In Covent Garden he also became acquainted with the engraver Louis Pierre Boitard (d. 1758).  Worlidge became famous for his portraits and copies of earlier artist's work, including that of Rembrandt.  His work was so detailed that he even became nicknamed 'the English Rembrandt'.

In the 1750s and 1760s Worlidge worked in the Bath area, drawing and painting portraits in miniature, pencil, crayon and oil.  His most popular works were portrait heads in pencil, which were much in demand by fashionable Bath society.

He exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1761 and 1765, and at the Free Society in 1762 and 1765-66.

The Peterborough Museum owns work by the artist and held an exhibition of his work in the 21st Century, entitled "World of Worlidge".

Sources include:
The Grove Dictionary of Art

Information provided by Jonathan Kasso.

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