Toms, Peter (DNB00)

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TOMS, PETER (d. 1777), painter, herald, and royal academician, was son of William Henry Toms, an engraver of note early in the eighteenth century, from whom John Boydell [q. v.], alderman and engraver, took lessons. Toms was a pupil of Thomas Hudson (1701–1779) [q. v.], and practised as a portrait-painter. He met, however, with little success except as a painter of drapery, in which he succeeded so well that about 1753 he was engaged by Sir Joshua Reynolds to paint draperies in his pictures. Subsequently he did similar work for Benjamin West and Francis Cotes. He had in 1746 been appointed Portcullis Pursuivant in the Heralds' College, a post which he held until his death. In 1763 he accompanied the Duke of Northumberland to Ireland as painter to the viceroy, but did not succeed in that country. In 1768 he was elected one of the foundation members of the Royal Academy, an honour due probably to his relations with Reynolds and West. After the death of Cotes, his principal employer, Toms became depressed in spirits, intemperate, and finally committed suicide on 1 Jan. 1777. He had but seldom contributed to the Royal Academy exhibitions.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Edwards's Anecdotes of Painters; Leslie and Taylor's Life and Times of Sir Joshua Reynolds; Art Journal, 1890, p. 114; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1880.]

L. C.