Monday, October 18, 2010

Thomas Phillips

Portraitist Thomas Phillips was born this day (October 18) in 1770, approximately one year before Walter Scott.  He lived roughly 13 years past Scott's death.

Phillips, from Warwickshire, painted glass windows early in his career.  By the early 19th century, he had found a niche in portrait painting.  His subjects included several poets, including Byron, Coleridge, and Campbell.  Of course, one of his subjects was Walter Scott himself (probably in 1815).  In addition to the author, Phillips produced several portraits of Scott characters, including Rebecca from Ivanhoe, and Flora MacIvor from Waverley. 

According to John Lockhart, Phillips' portrait of Scott 'caught a true expression not hit upon by any of his brethren---a smile of gentle enthusiasm' .  An etching of the portrait can be viewed at: http://www.walterscott.lib.ed.ac.uk/portraits/paintings/phillips.html, and a fuller biography of Phillips is found at Edinburgh University's Walter Scott archive: http://www.walterscott.lib.ed.ac.uk/portraits/artists/phillips.html.

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