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Oil painting - Captain Thomas Read
  • Captain Thomas Read
    Kauffman, Angelica, born 1741 - died 1807
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Captain Thomas Read

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    London (painted)

  • Date:

    1780 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Kauffman, Angelica, born 1741 - died 1807 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Claude D. Rotch

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    On display at Osterley Park House, London

Angelica Kauffmann (1741-1807) was born in Switzerland and was seen as a child prodigy. She soon specialised in history and portraits paintings while in Italy (especially Florence, Rome and Naples, Bologna, Parma and Venice) she was influenced by the nascent Neo-classical style. She became a member of the Roman Accademia di San Luca at the age of 23. She arrived in London in June 1766 and remained there for 15 years before moving back to Italy with her second husband the painter Antonio Zucchi (1726-1796). In London, she was a founder-member of the Royal Academy. All her life, she enjoyed international patronage such as the family of George III in Britain, Grand Duke Paul and Price Nikolay Yusupov in Russia, Queen Caroline of Naples and Emperor Joseph II of Austria among others. She died in Rome where her funeral was arranged by the Neo-classical sculptor Antonio Canova (1757-1822).

This painting portrayed Captain Thomas Read (1762-1837) the twin brother of Sir John Read, 6th Bart. of Skipton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire. Very little is known about the sitter who must have been 18 year-old by the time this portrait was excuted. It is a fine example of Georgian portraiture based on the so-called "Vandyke manner" essential to British portrait painting in the age of Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough.

Physical description

Half-length portrait of a young man, turned to the right and looking to front, his hair shoulder length; his right arm is resting on a book and he is holding a roll of paper.

Place of Origin

London (painted)


1780 (painted)


Kauffman, Angelica, born 1741 - died 1807 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas


Height: 77.2 cm, Width: 63.2 cm

Object history note

Commissioned by Lady Read in 1780; Sir Carl Meyer, sold at Red Cross sale, Christie’s London, 20 April 1918, lot 1905, bought Turner for £315; Christies London, 20 Feb 1948, lot 20, bought Fischman; bequeathed by Dr Claude D. Roth in 1962.

Historical significance: Angelica Kauffman executed a number of portraits while residing in England. The bequest also includes a letter dated 29 August 1780, from the artist to Lady Read concerning the portrait of her son which she had commissioned, and a receipt from the artist for 20 guineas. Thomas Read was the twin brother of Sir John Read, 6th Bart. of Skipton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire.

Descriptive line

Portrait of Captain Thomas Read (1762-1832), 1st Guards Regiment. Oil painting by Angelica Kauffmann, 1780.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victoria & Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1962. London: HMSO, 1964.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Summary Catalogue of British paintings, London, 1973, p. 71.
Lady Victoria Manners and G. C. Williamson, Angelica Kauffmann, R.A., London, 1924, pp.212, 234.
Connoisseur, Vol. 127, 1951, p.56 f (repr.).


Oil paint; Canvas



Subjects depicted



Paintings; Portraits


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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