Stewardson, Thomas (DNB00)

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STEWARDSON, THOMAS (1781–1859), portrait-painter, born at Kendal in August 1781, was son of John and Anne Stewardson of Kendal, who belonged to a quaker family at Ullsmoor, near Shap in Westmoreland. After a short apprenticeship with John Fothergill, a painter at Kendal, Stewardson studied for some years under George Romney [q. v.], who painted a portrait of him, which is stated to have been engraved. After this he came to London, and exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy in 1804. A portrait was painted of Stewardson in that year by John Opie [q. v.], from whom he is also said to have received instruction; this portrait was engraved in mezzotint by W. W. Barney. Stewardson settled at first in Leadenhall Street, where he soon obtained a considerable practice as a portrait-painter, his portraits being well drawn and the colouring good. He painted members of the family of the Duke of Marlborough, the Marquis of Winchester, and others; and among his sitters were Sir Thomas S. Pasley, bart., the Right. Hon. George Canning (engraved for the National Portrait Gallery, i. 75), Lord Skelmersdale, the Earl of Liverpool, and others. Latterly he resided in Adam Street, Adelphi. A portrait, by Stewardson, of George Grote, the historian, is in the National Portrait Gallery. Many of his portraits were engraved. Stewardson sometimes painted fancy subjects, usually with children in them. One of these, ‘The Indian Serpent Charmer,’ exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1818, attracted a good deal of attention. He was prevented by illness from practising his profession for the last thirty years of his life, and died, unmarried, at his lodgings in Pall Mall on 28 Aug. 1859. He was buried in Kensal Green cemetery.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; information from Mr. Thomas Stewardson of Philadelphia, U.S.A.; Gent. Mag. 1859, ii. 538; Rogers's Opie and his Works.]

L. C.