Murray, Thomas (1663-1734) (DNB00)

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MURRAY or MURREY, THOMAS (1663-1734), portrait-painter, born in 1663, was of Scottish origin, and received his first lessons in art from one of the De Critz family [see under De Critz, John]. Subsequently he became a pupil of the eminent portrait-painter, John Riley [q. v.] Like his master, Murrey was nothing more than a face-painter, leaving the rest of the picture to be completed by others. He had a delicate and expressive method of painting, which is much obscured by the dull heaviness of the accessories in his portraits. Murrey was handsome in appearance, as appears from his portrait by himself in the gallery of painters in the Uffizi Gallery at Florence, which has been engraved several times. He amassed a great deal of money, which he increased by usury and extremely parsimonious habits. He died in June 1734, leaving no children, and bequeathed his money to a nephew, with instructions that his monument, with a bust, should be erected in Westminster Abbey, provided that it did not cost too much. His nephew, however, taking him at his word, buried him in St. Paul's, Covent Garden, and found the monument too expensive to erect. Murrey's portraits are frequently to be met with, and many of them were engraved, especially by the mezzotint engravers of the day. Among them may be noted Captain William Dampier and Sir John Pratt at the National Portrait Gallery, Sir Hans Sloane at the Royal College of Physicians, Edmund Halley at the Royal Society, Bishop Buckeridge at St. John's College, Oxford, Queen Anne (full length, seated) in the townhall at Stratford-on-Avon, King William and Queen Mary in Fishmongers' Hall, London, Christopher, duke of Albemarle (an early work), Henry St. John, viscount Bolingbroke, George, landgrave of Hesse, Bishop Edmund Gibson, Philip Frowde (1732), and many others.

[Vertue's Notebooks (Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 23076) ; Eedgrave's Diet, of Artists ; information from George Scharf, esq., C.B.]

L. C.