Lawrence, Thomas (1769-1830)

Portrait painter. The son of a Bristol innkeeper, he was self–taught and displayed his brilliant talents as a draughtsman from childhood. He established himself as a fashionable painter in 1790 with a portrait of Queen Charlotte (1744–1818; DNB) and was much patronised by royalty. He was knighted in 1815 and was elected President of the Royal Academy in 1820. Southey wrote to him that year in response to an invitation he had received to the Academy’s Annual Dinner. Sir Robert Peel later commissioned Lawrence to paint Southey’s portrait. Consequently, in 1828 Southey, who was visiting London, sat a number of times for Lawrence at his studio. The resultant portrait was widely admired and is now in the South African National Gallery.