Thomas Herring (1693-1757) was a typical success story of the eighteenth century, a politically active priest. Lucrative positions in the Church brought him wealth, and he ardently supported the Hanoverians, not only in his sermons, but by raising large sums of money for the government during the Scottish rebellion of 1745. His reward was being made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1747. When Hogarth painted this portrait
, he was very aware of confronting one of the most eminent men in the country. In this magisterial composition
Hogarth deliberately invited comparison with his revered predecessors Lely and van Dyck.