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The fourteen-year-old boy in this portrait was recently identified as Marcus Richard Fitzroy Thomas. He sat for Reynolds on July 10, 1782 – the day after Charles Stanhope, third Earl of Harrington, had a sitting. Stanhope had recently returned form a military post in Jamaica, and he likely brought Thomas – who may have been attached to his regiment or enslaved on a plantation owned by Stanhope’s step-father-in-law – back to Britain as an attendant. Thomas was later baptized, when he was nineteen, on the same day as Stanhope’s new born child. Much remains to be uncovered about Thomas’s life, though parish registers reveal that he married and moved to Sussex, where his son John Henry was born in 1794.Thomas later returned to London, where in 1816 he died, just nine days after he was admitted to a workhouse for the poor.

Title

Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harrington and Marcus Richard Fitzroy Thomas

Date

1782

Medium

oil on canvas

Measurements

H 236.2 x W 142.2 cm

Accession number

B1977.14.69

Acquisition method

Paul Mellon Collection

Work type

Painting

Signature/marks description

signed lower right: S. J. Reynolds. Pinx.

Inscription description

inscribed, lower left: Charles Earl of Harrington

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