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Thomas Patch (1725-1782)
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Thomas Patch (1725-1782)

A Mediterranean seaport, with a triumphal arch, figures on the quay, a British man-o'war and other shipping

Details
Thomas Patch (1725-1782)
A Mediterranean seaport, with a triumphal arch, figures on the quay, a British man-o'war and other shipping
signed and inscribed 'No1 TP[in monogram]' (lower centre)
oil on canvas
48¾ x 67 in. (124 x 170.5 cm.)
Provenance
Purchased by Sir Alexander Baird, 1st Bt. (1849-1920), and by descent to the vendor.
Special notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

Patch travelled to Rome in 1747 in the company of Richard Dalton, afterwards librarian to King George III. There he quickly settled into the established colony of British artists and connoisseurs and soon 'attracted the attention of Claude-Joseph Vernet, who was always disposed to look for talent amongst his wife's countrymen' (F.J.B. Watson, 'Thomas Patch: Notes on his life, together with a catalogue of his known works', Walpole Society, XXXVIII, 1939-40, p.16). Patch worked in Vernet's studio from 1750 until 1753, writing home that he believed Vernet to be a superior artist to Claude - an opinion which was said to have greatly shocked Joseph Farington some sixty years later.

Expelled from the Papal States in 1755, he settled in Florence where he established a successful painting practice helped by his friendship with Sir Horace Mann, the British Envoy to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, which gave him valuable introductions to the touring British 'milordi'.

Patch was a versatile artist and engraver. A keen interest in early Italian art is evident from a series of books of engravings after Masaccio, Fra Bartolommeo, Giotto and Ghiberti, and his painted commissions are known to have included copies after the Old Masters. His views in and around Florence were much collected and his celebrated caricatures, not disimilar in style to those of Reynolds, are a fascinating and amusing record of Anglo-Florentine society.

Bearing the artist's monogram, the present picture was presumably executed after he left Vernet's studio. Yet the influence of Vernet is so strong that it is tempting to suggest it may have been painted prior to his departure from Rome, although he did continue to paint such subjects in Florence. Certainly the quality of the picture supports the view that in the past some unsigned works by Patch may have passed as the work of his one-time master.

The triumphal arch in the picture is based loosely on elements of both the Arch of Septimus Severus, built in the 3rd Century A.D. to celebrate the victories over the Parthians, and the Arch of Titus, built to commemorate the conquest of Jerusalem, in the Roman Forum.
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