Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Philips, Charles

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PHILIPS, CHARLES (1708–1747), portrait-painter, son of Richard Philips (1681–1741), also a portrait-painter of some repute, was born in 1708, and at an early age formed a good connection among the nobility. He was noted for his small whole-lengths and conversation pieces, which are minutely and skilfully, if somewhat timidly, painted, and valuable on account of the truth and sincerity with which the costumes and accessories are treated. His life-sized portraits are weaker and less satisfactory. Philips was much patronised by Frederick, prince of Wales, for whom he painted two pictures, now at Windsor, of meetings of convivial clubs formed by the prince, and styled ‘Knights of the Round Table’ and ‘Harry the Fifth, or the Gang Club.’ A portrait of the prince and three of the princess, painted by Philips, have been engraved; and another of the princess dated 1737, in which she is represented with her first baby, Princess Augusta, on her lap, is at Warwick Castle. Other known works of Philips are: Lady Betty Germain, seated in a panelled room, 1731 (Knole); Charles Spencer, second duke of Marlborough, 1731 (Woburn); the Duke of Cumberland and Lord Cathcart at Culloden, or, more probably, Fontenoy, and the family of Lord Archibald Hamilton, 1731 (both at Thornton-le-Street); Bishop Warburton (National Portrait Gallery); Archbishop Secker, when bishop of Oxford (Cuddesden Palace); Thomas Frewen and wife, 1734 (Brickwell); and two groups of members of the Russell, Greenhill, and Revett families (Chequers). Several other portraits by Philips have been engraved by Faber and Burford. He resided in Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, married in 1738, and died in 1747. A miniature of Philips, painted by himself, was lent to the 1865 miniature exhibition at South Kensington by T. Wharton Jones, F.R.S., the then representative of the Philips family. Vertue mentions Philips as one of the half-dozen leading painters of the day who were all of low stature—‘five-foot men or under.’

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Chaloner Smith's British Mezzotinto Portraits; Cat. of National Portrait Exhibition, 1867; Vertue's Collections in British Museum (Addit. MS. 23076); information from the late Sir George Scharf, K.C.B.]

F. M. O'D.