Formerly attributed to Thomas Gainsborough
‘The Parish Clerk’ (Edward Orpin, Parish Clerk of Bradford-upon-Avon) c.1760–70

Artwork details

Formerly attributed to Thomas Gainsborough 1727–1788
‘The Parish Clerk’ (Edward Orpin, Parish Clerk of Bradford-upon-Avon)
Date c.1760–70
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1219 x 978 mm
frame: 1512 x 1250 x 150 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1876
Not on display

Catalogue entry

Formerly attributed to Thomas Gainsborough 1727–1788

‘The Parish Clerk’ (Edward Orpin, Parish Clerk of Bradford-upon-Avon)
Oil paint on canvas
1219 x 978 mm
Purchased 1867

Ownership history
Perhaps in the collection of Walter Wiltshire (1719–1799), Shockerwick, Wiltshire; with his son, John Wiltshire (1762–1842), Shockerwick, Wiltshire, by 1814; his son, John Wiltshire (1786–1866), Shockerwick, Wiltshire; in the sale of his collection, Christie’s, London, 25 May 1867, lot 129, bought by the National Gallery, London; transferred to the Tate Gallery 1919.

Exhibition history

Catalogue of Pictures by the Late William Hogarth, Richard Wilson, Thomas Gainsborough, and J. Zoffani, British Institution, London 1814 (70) (as Gainsborough, ‘The Parish Clerk of Bradford, Wilts’).
Bicentenary Exhibition of Thomas Gainsborough, RA [sic], Ipswich Museum, 7 October–5 November 1927 (45) (as by Thomas Gainsborough).
Thomas Gainsborough, Tate Gallery, 27 May–4 August 1953 (27) (as by Thomas Gainsborough).


John Britton, The Beauties of Wiltshire, 3 vols, London 1801–25, vol.3, 1825, p.195.
John Britton, The Auto-Biography of John Britton FSA, London 1850, p.225.
George Williams Fulcher, The Life of Thomas Gainsborough RA, London 1856, p.200.
John Timbs, Anecdote Biography: William Hogath, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, Henry Fuseli, Sir Thomas Lawrence, and JMW Turner, London 1860, p.162.
‘Fine Art Gossip’, Athenaeum, 1 June 1867, p.733.
‘Fine Arts’, Standard, 26 December 1867.
‘Gainsborough’s Portrait of Orpin, Parish Clerk of Bradford, Wiltshire, in the National Gallery (British School), South Kensington’, lllustrated London News, 21 November 1868, pp.493–4, reproduced as a wood engraving.
Sidney Colvin, ‘From Rigaud to Reynolds: Characteristics of French and English Painting in the 18th Century. XI: Thomas Gainsborough (Continued)’, Portfolio, 3 January 1872, pp.181, 184.
R.N. Wornum, ‘The National Gallery IX – Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788)’ Orpin, Parish Clerk of Bradford, Wiltshire’, Portfolio, vol.4, January 1873, p.129, reproduced in etching by Charles Waltner.
Joseph Beavington Atkinson, Studies among the Painters, London 1874, p.183 reproduced as an engraving.
‘Notes and News’, Academy, 12 September 1874, p.306.
‘The Rise of Naturalism in English Art’, Macmillan’s Magazine, 1 November 1875, pp.463–4.
Sidney Colvin, ‘The Re–Opening of the National Gallery’, Academy, 12 August 1876, p.171.
Ralph Nicholson Wornum, Etchings from the Royal Academy. Eighteen Plates, 2 vols, London 1876, vol.1, no.13, reproduced in etching by Charles Waltner.
Allan Cunningham, The Lives of the Most Eminent British Painters, ed Mrs Charles Heaton, 3 vols, London 1879, vol.1, p.279n.
Charles Dickens, ‘The Parish Clerk’, All the Year Round, 6 November 1880, p.60.
‘Some Notes on Gainsborough and his Connection with Bradford’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, vol.20, 1882, pp.62–4, 309.
‘The Public Galleries’, Saturday Review, 22 September 1883, p.367.
Robert Edward Myhill Peach, Historic Houses in Bath, And their Associations, London and Bath 1883, p.92.
‘The Picture Galleries – IV’, Saturday Review, 3 January 1885, p.17.
‘The Picture Galleries’, Saturday Review, 10 January 1885, p.48.
‘Gainsborough’, London Quarterly Review, April 1885, pp.42, 43.
Diogenes Tubes (pseudonym), ‘More Living Pictures’, Fun, 27 October 1886, p.171.
W.B. Richmond, ‘Thomas Gainsborough RA’, in T.H. Ward, English Art in the Public Galleries of London, London and Paris 1888, p.33, reproduced.
‘The Parish Clerk’, English Illustrated Magazine, vol.59, August 1888, p.705, reproduced in engraving by R. Taylor.
Edward T. Cook, A Popular Handbook to the National Gallery, London 1888, p.399.
Philip Gilbert Hamerton, ‘Thomas Gainsborough’, Portfolio, September 1894, pp.9, 13, 75, 79–80 and passim; reproduced p.16.
Henry B. Wheatley, Historical Portraits: Some Notes on the Painted Portraits of Celebrated Characters of England, Scotland and Ireland, London 1897, pp.71, 255.
Mrs Arthur Bell (N. D’Anvers), Thomas Gainsborough, London 1897, pp.42–3
Edward J. Poynter, The National Gallery, 3 vols, London 1900, vol.3, p.84, reproduced.
‘Gainsborough’, Academy, 27 April 1901, p.370 (letter from J.J. Jackson).
Mrs Arthur Bell (N. D’Anvers), Thomas Gainsborough, RA, London 1902, pp.42–5, reproduced.
Ronald Sutherland Gower, Gainsborough, London 1903, pp.v, 52 reproduced, p.116.
Walter Armstrong, Gainsborough and his Place in European Art, London 1904, pp.139, 275.
Julia de Wolf Addison, The Art of the National Gallery, London 1905, pp.297–8.
W.J. Loftie, ‘Bradford-on-Avon – II’, The Architectural Review, vol.17, February 1905, pp.51–8.
William Biggs Boulton, Thomas Gainsborough: His Life, Work, Friends and Sitters, London 1905, p.94.
Lionel Cust, ‘Portraits as Historical Documents’, Saint George, vol.8, January 1905, p.25.
Peter H. Ditchfield, The Parish Clark, London 1907, p.122.
Randall Davies and Cecil Hunts, Stories of the English Artists 1600–1851, London and New York 1908, p.80.
Paul G, Konody, Maurice W. Brockwell and F.W. Lippmann, The National Gallery: 100 Plates in Colour, 2 vols, London and Edinburgh 1902, vol.2, pp.134–6.
‘Current Art Notes’, Connoisseur, vol.28, September–December 1910, p.319.
William T. Whitley, Thomas Gainsborough, London 1915, p.40.
E. Rimbault Dibdin, Thomas Gainsborough 1727–1788, London 1923, pp.80–5.
Peter H. Ditchfield, Country Folk: A Pleasant Company, London 1923, p.84, reproduced.
Hugh Stokes, Thomas Gainsborough, London 1925, p.144, reproduced.
James Bolivar Manson, Hours in the Tate Gallery, London 1926, p.21.
William Roberts, Bicentenary Memorial Exhibition of Thomas Gainsborough, R.A.: Illustrating the Various Periods of his Work, also the Work of his Antecedents and Contemporaries and his Influence on the Art of his Own and Later Times, Ipswich Museums, 1927, p.30.
‘Gainsborough: Ipswich Exhibition’, Scotsman, 8 October 1927.
E.R. Dibdin, ‘The Gainsborough Memorial Exhibition at Ipswich’ Museums Journal, vol.27, 1927–8, p.192.
William T. Whitley, Artists and their Friends in England 1700–1799, 2 vols, London 1928, vol.2, p.65.
Ernest H. Short, The Painter in History, London 1929, p.334.
James Bolivar Manson, The Tate Gallery, London 1930, pp.22–3, reproduced.
Goddard Henry Orpen, The Orpen Family: Being an Account of the Life and Writings of Richard Orpen of Killowen, Co. Kerry, Together with Some Researches into his Forbears in England and Brief Notices of the Various Branches of the Orpen Family Descended from Him, Frome and London, pp.43–4, reproduced.
Thomas Gainsborough, 1727–1788: An Exhibition of Paintings, Tate Gallery 1953, p.18.
Ellis Waterhouse, ‘Preliminary Check List of Portraits by Thomas Gainsborough’, The Thirty–Third Volume of the Walpole Society 1948–1950, 1953, p.82.
Ellis Waterhouse, Gainsborough, London 1958, p.50.
Harold Fassnidge and Peter Maundrell (eds), Bradford on Avon: A Pictorial Record, Trowbridge 1983, reproduced fig.130.
Susan Sloman, Gainsborough in Bath, New Haven and London 2002, p.250 n75.
Harold Fassnidge, revised by Roger Jones, Bradford on Avon Past and Present (1988) revised edition St Helier 2007, pp.101–2.
Steven Hobbs, Gleanings from Wiltshire Parish Registers, Chippenham 2010, p.xvi.

Since it was first documented in 1814, this painting has been identified as a portrait of Edward Orpin (1692–1781), the long-serving Parish Clerk of Bradford-upon-Avon in Wiltshire.1 The sitter is shown as an elderly man, on a half- length format, seated at a small round table on which a fat volume labelled ‘Bibl[e] Vol.1’ is resting open and upright on a book-rest. The sitter rests his right hand over the top of the upright volume and appears to have just turned a page with his left hand. His head is turned to his left, so that his face is illuminated by daylight which enters the scene from a plain window opening at top right. He wears a think outdoor coat and breeches (revealed as blue when the painting was cleaned in the 1970s, formerly having the appearance of being green), with a high-necked waistcoat and necktie. He wears his own hair rather than a wig, grey, shoulder-length and unpowdered. The upward glance of the sitter and the illuminated face was a conventional motif in eighteenth-century portraiture, suggestive of (in this case, divine) inspiration.2

The painting was first publicly exhibited at the British Institution in 1814, when it was lent by John Wiltshire and identified as a portrait by Thomas Gainsborough of ‘The Parish Clerk of Bradford, Wilts’. The picture was noted as hanging in their home, Shockerwick House near Bath, by the topographer John Britton in a survey of Wiltshire published in 1825.3 Britton also later recalled:

In Mr Wiltshire, of Shockerwick, he [Gainsborough] found a substantial patron: in that house there are three or four of his eminent pictures. One of them, a waggon and horses, with human figures, is well known to, and duly admired by, artists and amateurs. There is also a portrait of an old man, commonly called the Parish–Clerk of Bradford, which ranks with Rembrandt’s portraits, for colour, effect, and character.4

The painting passed to John Wiltshire’s son, also John, and remained at Shockerwick where it was later recalled to have ‘hung over the bookcase in the library’.5 After the younger John Wiltshire’s death the present painting, and Gainsborough’s portraits of the actors Samuel Foote (private collection)6 and James Quin (National Gallery of Ireland), and several landscapes by the same artist, were sent for auction in London. It was acquired by the National Gallery, London, as a work by Gainsborough at the sale in May 1867.

Edward Orpin came from a family of Bradford tradesmen, and had started life as a cooper before becoming a much-employed and long-serving local official.7 His duties in the town were various, including transcribing registers, acting as Coroner or Clerk of the Market (in which role he enforced the weights and measures laws at markets and fairs) and, as vestry clerk, doing everything from organising the church laundry to dealing with church taxes. With his long service, and his prominent historic home in the town centre (now known as Orpin House) he was a well-known local figure. Circumstantial evidence has lent credibility to the attribution of the portrait to Gainsborough, despite the absence of supporting documentation. Gainsborough had connections with the Orpin family, as he was a neighbour of Edward Orpin’s son Thomas Orpin (d.1797), who was a successful music teacher in Bath.8 Importantly, the painter was a friend of John Wiltshire’s father, Walter Wiltshire (1719–1799), the wealthy Bath merchant whose carrier service he used to transport paintings to London while he was based in the west country city (1760–1774).9 We know that Wiltshire obtained paintings directly from Gainsborough, including the famous The Harvest Waggon (Barber Institute of Arts, University of Birmingham), the painting noted as ‘well known’ by Britton (as quoted above). All the other paintings attributed to Gainsborough in the Wiltshire sale of 1867, and apparently sharing the same provenance, remain identified as works by that artist.10 However, it cannot be certain whether this work was owned by Walter Wiltshire or was acquired by the family at a later date (but of course, before 1814 when it was exhibited by his son).

The painting was acclaimed as a masterpiece when it was first displayed as part of the National Gallery collection of British art at South Kensington in 1867. A reporter for the London newspaper, the Standard (26 December 1867), was enraptured:

The artist has drawn with his pencil as noble a portrait of the parish clerk as that the poet Goldsmith drew in verse of the country clergyman.11 The old man looks up from his Bible to the skies with inquiring gaze. Perhaps just a shade of misgiving may exist, to trouble the venerable clerk’s thoughts, but the doubt, if doubt exists, will only be transitory in the good man’s mind. We might wish for more such deserving subjects for the pencil, and for more Gainsboroughs to appreciate and do justice to them.

In 1876 the picture was introduced into a new hang at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, paired with the famous painting by Gainsborough of Mrs Siddons (National Gallery, London) at either side of the acclaimed landscape by the same artist, The Watering Place (National Gallery, London). The picture had already been matched to Mrs Siddons in terms of quality and importance; the leading weekly journal Illustrated London News proclaimed both were ‘unsurpassedly fine’.12 The later arrangement at the National Gallery seems to have actively invited this comparison. The novelist Charles Dickens, in an essay on the parish clerk for the popular weekly journal All the Year Round in 1880, proclaimed it ‘as fine a specimen of his delineation of men, as is his portrait of Mrs Siddons of women’ and ‘the most perfect picture of a parish clerk ever painted’.13 A journalist in 1885 similarly saw a telling contrast between the two: ‘Side by side on the same wall hang the Siddons, which is a glory of pure colour, and the Parish Clerk, which is a glory of tone’.14

Generally known simply as The Parish Clerk, the painting had become one of the most famous images of the time, valued by art critics and writers, and as ‘one of the chief ornaments of the National Gallery’ well known to a general audience,15 the subject both of jokes in comics and of considered critical judgements by well–informed commentators.16

The painting was transferred to the Tate Gallery in 1919, and its fame continued to grow in this new context: a guidebook of 1926 confirmed it was ‘deservedly a favourite example of Gainsborough’s work’.17 When it was included in the major Gainsborough exhibition at Ipswich in 1927, a reviewer referred to it as ‘suave and rather sentimental … so well known and so popular’ and in a survey of the following year, it was asserted that it showed ‘the artist at the point of his highest achievement as a painter of men’.18 By 1930 it was referred to as both ‘famous and popular’.19 A local history published in 1953 could still blandly allude to the ‘well–known painting “The Parish Clerk”’ in the expectation that their readers would be familiar with this picture.20

By this last date, in which year the picture featured in the Tate Gallery’s major Gainsborough exhibition, the pre-eminent scholar of British art Ellis Waterhouse was forming doubts about the attribution. The painting had been included in his preliminary checklist of the painter’s works published by The Walpole Society in 1953 but was to be excluded from his catalogue of Gainsborough’s paintings published as a book in 1958, a move dramatic enough to elicit a covering note from the author:

Many pictures from that list [i.e. that published in the Walpole Society] have now been deliberately omitted, but the only one to which I would draw particular attention is the Orpin, Town Clerk of Bradford, in the Tate Gallery, long believed to be one of the most unimpeachably authenticated of Gainsborough’s portraits. At the Gainsborough exhibition at the Tate Gallery in 1953, where it was hung among unquestionable Gainsboroughs of all periods, it became clear that this attribution was impossible, and I can only suppose the picture is by William Hoare, whose work at Bath, during the years that Gainsborough lived there, occasionally shows some similarity to Gainsborough.21

Waterhouse’s suggestion that the painter might be the Bath artist William Hoare (1707?–92) was subsequently rejected by Tate curators, following new work on that artist by Evelyn Newby.22 The more recent re-attribution to the Irish painter Nathaniel Hone (1718–84) seems to originate with Tate curator Elizabeth Einberg and is mentioned, albeit tentatively, in a letter by her of 1986.23 Hone remains a strong possibility, and comparison with works by him such as the 1762 portrait of Sir John Fielding (National Portrait Gallery, London) and, especially, the 1773 likeness of the same sitter (Middlesex Guildhall Art Collection) may support this possibility.24 However, Hone is not known to have worked in Bath in the 1760s and 1770s, when this portrait must surely date from, and the technical and stylistic similarities are not beyond dispute. Further suggested authors include Thomas Beach, Mason Chamberlin, Robert Edge Pine and George James.25 Accoordingly, the identity of the artist remains unresolved. Although critical opinion has sided with Waterhouse’s rejection of the painting as by Gainsborough, the picture arguably bears comparison in some regards with the rather sturdier, relatively prosaic treatment of male sitters from this period, notably the portraits of Quin and, on a three-quarter length format of Uvedale Tomkyns Price c.1760–1 (Neue Pinakothek, Munich), which share the slightly hesitant, stiff treatment of anatomy and the cautious, controlled modelling of the sitters’ features. Meanwhile, the look of divinely-inspired distraction and accompanying turn of the head recall quite strongly Gainsborough’s later portraits of The Reverend Humphrey Gainsborough c.1770–4 (Yale Center for British Art and private collection, London).

The situation may be further complicated by the existence of other pictures apparently showing the same sitter. Another painting of ‘The Parish Clark’ identified as a work by Gainsborough was on sale in America in 1911.26 That may simply have been a copy, given the celebrity of the picture at the National Gallery, but Philadelphia Museum of Art owns a further painting of what appears to be of the same sitter, dressed in the costume and carrying the staff of a beadle (civic official) and potentially by the same painter as the Tate picture. It is possible to read the paintings as complimentary, showing the sitter attending to the secular and religious duties which made up his role as parish clerk. The painting was acquired in 1917 as a Gainsborough as part of the collection John G. Johnson (1841–1917) and is now listed as British School.27 A correspondent to an art magazine in 1901 also claimed to have a painting showing the same sitter as in the Parish Clerk, ostensibly in a subject painting by Gainsborough of ‘a miser’ counting coins.28 While it has not been possible to identify that last picture, it adds to an apparent proliferation of portraits of the same sitter in different guises, which in turn opens up the slight possibility that he was a model painted in role rather than Edward Orpin (a well-known local figure who had, though, been dead for more than thirty years when this picture was first exhibited with his name attached to it).

Until further evidence comes to light which may help resolve these questions, the painting can be identified as ‘Formerly attributed to Thomas Gainsborough’ in recognition of its long history of being given to that artist, and the familiar historical title of ‘The Parish Clerk’ re-established to similarly acknowledge the strength of tradition behind this identification.

Martin Myrone
August 2013
Revised July 2015


1 Steven Hobbs, Gleanings from Wiltshire Parish Registers, Chippenham 2010, p.23, where Orpin is noted as beginning as Parish Clerk for Bradford on Avon 1722, and retained the role until his death in 1781. The date of his birth is derived from the obituary notice, Gentleman’s Magazine, 51 (1781), p.294, where it is stated he was eighty-nine.
2 See Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Genial Company: The Theme of Genius in Eighteenth–Century British Portraiture, exhibition catalogue, Nottingham University Art Gallery 1987.
3 John Britton, The Beauties of Wiltshire, 3 vols, London 1801–25, vol., 1825, p.195.
4 John Britton, The Auto-Biography of John Britton FSA, London 1850, p.225.
5 W.J. Loftie, ‘Bradford-on-Avon – II’, Architectural Review, vol.17, no.99, February 1905, p.58.
6 See Ian G. Lumsden, Gainsborough in Canada, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton, New Brunswick 1991 (13). Although this picture appears quite certainly to have the same Wiltshire provenance, the identification as Foote – and therefore of the reliability of the early stories about the Wiltshire collection – is questioned in John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid–Georgian Portrait, London 2004, p.163. Notably, given the later attribution histories of the paintings in the Wiltshire collection, one contemporary, J.H. Anderdon, dismissed the Foote as ‘not’ Gainsborough and the Quin portrait (now National Gallery of Ireland) as ‘Doubtful’ while asserting that the ‘Portrait of Orpin’ was ‘a beautiful work – a noble head’ (Anderdon Catalogues, vol.2, item 123a; British Museum, Department of Prints and Drawings).
7 See Harold Fassnidge revised by Roger Jones, Bradford on Avon Past and Present (1988) revised edition, St Helier 2007, pp.101, 136.
8 Susan Sloman, Gainsborough in Bath, New Haven and London 2002, p.101 and p.235 n.14.
9 Sloman, Gainsborough in Bath, pp.186–7 and John Hayes (ed.), The Letters of Thomas Gainsborough, New Haven and London 2001, p.206.
10 Although note the question over the identity of the ex-Wiltshire portrait identified as being of Samuel Foote, above n.6.
11 Oliver Goldsmith (1728–74), author of the novel The Vicar of Wakefield (1766).
12 ‘Gainsborough’s Portrait of Orpin, Parish Clerk of Bradford, Wiltshire, in the National Gallery (British School), South Kensington’, Illustrated London News, 21 November 1868, pp.493–4 (reproduced as a wood engraving).
13 Charles Dickens, ‘The Parish Clerk’, All the Year Round, vol.26, no.623, 6 November 1880, p.60.
14 ‘Gainsborough’, London Quarterly Review, vol.4, no.127, April 1885, pp.42, 43. Further examples of the association of the two pictures would include Robert Edward Myhill Peach, Historic Houses in Bath, And their Associations, London and Bath 1883, p.92 and Ernest H. Short, The Painter in History, London 1929, p.334.
15Henry B. Wheatley, Historical Portraits: Some Notes on the Painted Portraits of Celebrated Characters of England, Scotland and Ireland, London 1897, p.255.
16 For an example of the first, see Diogenes Tubes (pseud.), ‘More Living Pictures’, Fun 27 October 1886, p.171 where the narrator casually refers to ‘Gainsborough’s Parish Clerk’ as among the pictures apparently being mimicked by living models at Marlborough House (‘Would I like to be set in a frame as Gainsborough’s Parish Clerk? No, I should not sir. I don’t want to be set in a frame and I won’t.). For an example of the latter, the assessment in Philip Gilbert Hamerton, ‘Thomas Gainsborough’, The Portfolio, September 1894, pp.5–86 (p.80): ‘Of all Gainsborough’s pictures this is, perhaps, the most careful, the most caressing, if I may be allowed the word, in design. The flow of every line, the accent of very mass, has been pondered and re-pondered until the unity, if not the force, of Rembrandt has been reached’.
17 J.B. Manson, Hours in the Tate Gallery, London 1926, p.21.
18Gainsborough: Ipswich Exhibition’, Scotsman, 8 October 1927; Ernest H. Short, The Painter in History, London 1929, p.334.
19 James Bolivar Manson, The Tate Gallery, London 1930, pp.22–3.
20 From ‘Parishes: Bradford–on–Avon’, A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 7 (1953), pp.4–51, http://www.british–, accessed 9 February 2012.
21 Ellis Waterhouse, Gainsborough, London 1958, p.50.
22 Curatorial note by Elizabeth Einberg, approved by Martin Butlin, 26 September 1983, in Artist Catalogue File, Tate, 60a/04/7E.
23 Letter from Elizabeth Einberg, 14 October 1986, in Artist Catalogue File, Tate, 60a/04/7E.
24 Thank you to Nesta Butler for highlighting these comparisons, and arguing for the attribution to Hone (June 2015).
25 Arising in discussion with, among others, Michael Rosenthal, Bendor Grosvenor, Neil Jeffares, Martin Postle, Francis Russell, Susan Sloman and Amina Wright. Rica Jones has noted (personal communication, August 2013) that the painting appears to be on a grey ground, which is wholly uncharacteristic of Gainsborough’s work in Bath, the artist at that time favouring a pink ground.
26 New York Times, 21 January 1911, noting the sale of pictures belonging to the late William M Laffan by the American Art Association at Mendelssohn Hall, including ‘Portrait of Orpin, the Parish Clerk of Bradford, Wiltshire – Thomas Gainsborough. L. Prendergast 100’
28 J.J. Jackson to the editor, Academy, 27 April 1901, p.370: ‘I have a painting of a miser which bears a strong resemblance to ”The Parish Clerk” in the National Gallery, except the one is a good man and the other a bad one. This painting formerly belonged to Sir Thomas Lavie and then to his son, Captain George Lavie, RN; then to his widow, who was a relative of mine; and came into my possession about twenty years ago. It was restored by Holyoake & Coates, of Leamington, and they have no hesitation in saying it is a genuine painting by Thomas Gainsborough. Sir Edward Cockburn, and many others who have seen it in my house, are all satisfied that it is a work of a master hand. I have never exhibited it or shown it outside my own place, but should be very pleased to let you or any other person view it. The miser is surprised while counting his money: he grasps his bag with one hand, while he endeavours to cover the coins on the table with the other. The face, hands, and body are as perfectly painted as other works by Gainsborough; the coat is dark blue; and the coins bear the inscription, ”Geo. III, Dei Gratia”, which gives one some idea of the date of the picture, when there were not many men who could do such work’.

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