Samuel Laurence

(1812 - 28 February 1884)

Samuel Laurence (also spelled Lawrence) was a British portrait painter, born at Guildford, Surrey, and early manifested a great love for art. The first portraits which he exhibited were at the Society of British Artists in 1834, but in 1836, he sent three portraits, including that of Mrs. Somerville, to the exhibition of the Royal Academy.

Early in life Laurence was brought into close relations with many of the eminent literary men of his time, and was on terms of great intimacy with George Henry Lewes and Thornton Leigh Hunt; but his most intimate friend was James Spedding, the editor of Bacon. Many of his portraits of them have been engraved, the best-known being those of Thackeray reading a letter, Carlyle writing at his desk, Harriet, Lady Ashburton (in Lord Houghton's 'Monographs'), Frederick Denison Maurice, Mrs. Gaskell, Archbishop Trench, and William Edward Forster. His portraits of Tennyson and Carlyle are engraved in Home's New Spirit of the Age, 1844. One of his most successful portraits in oil is that of Leigh Hunt, painted in 1837, but never quite finished. It was photographed for Leigh Hunt's Correspondence, published in 1862, and exhibited in the National Portrait Exhibition of 1868.

He died at 6 Wells Street, Oxford Street, London, from the effects of an operation, on 28 February 1884, in the seventy-second year of his age.

Laurence married Anastasia Gliddon, cousin and adopted sister of Mrs. Thornton Leigh Hunt, and during his early married life he visited Florence and Venice, studying diligently the methods of the old masters, and endeavouring to discover the secrets of their success. In 1854, he visited the United States, and while staying at Longfellow's residence in Massachusetts, he drew a portrait of James Russell Lowell, which has been engraved.



Academy Portraits
Right Hon. Thomas Erskine, 1838 Sir Frederick Pollock, bart., 1842 and 1847
Charles Babbage, 1845 Dr. William Whewell, 1847
James Spedding, 1860 The Rev. Frederick Denison Maurice, 1871
Robert Browning, 1869 Sir Thomas Watson, bart., M.D., 1870
The Rev. William Hepworth Thompson, master of Trinity, 1869 Thomas Carlyle, 1841;



Exhibited Crayon Drawings
John Hullah, 1842 Professor Adam Sedgwick, 1845
The Rev. Frederick Denison Maurice, 1846 George Grote, 1849
Lord Ashburton,1850 Bernard Barton, 1850
Sir Henry Taylor, 1852 Sir William Bowman, bart., 1853
Sir Frederick Pollock and Lady Pollock, 1863 James Anthony Froude, 1864
Rev. Hugh Stowell, 1864 William Makepeace Thackeray, 1864
Anthony Trollope, 1865 Sir Henry Cole 1866
Dean John Howson, 1866 William Spottiswoode, 1869
Lord-justice Sir Edward Fry, 1871 Sir Theodore Martin, 1875
Charles Dickens (Sketch of Boz), 1838


He ceased to exhibit at Suffolk Street in 1853, but his works continued to appear at the Royal Academy until 1882, when he sent a drawing of Mrs. Cross ('George Eliot'), made in 1860.

There are by him in the National Portrait Gallery portraits in oil of Charles Babbage and Sir Thomas Bourchier, R.N., and an unfinished head of Thackeray, as well as chalk drawings of Sir Frederick Pollock, bart., and Sir Charles Wheatstone, and an unfinished sketch of Matthew James Higgins ('Jacob Omnium'). The Scottish National Portrait Gallery has a head in crayons of Thomas Carlyle. His portrait of Dr. Whewell is in Trinity College, Cambridge, and one of Thackeray is in the Reform Club, London.

Publication now in the public domain, Robert Edmund Graves, (1892); Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 32., Sidney Lee.



SAMUEL LAURENCE, (1812-1884), portrait-painter, was born at Guildford, Surrey, in 1812, and early manifested a great love for art. The first portraits which he exhibited were at the Society of British Artists in 1834, but in 1836, he sent three portraits, including that of Mrs. Somerville, to the exhibition of the Royal Academy.

Early in life Laurence was brought into close relations with many of the eminent literary men of his time, and was on terms of great intimacy with George Henry Lewes and Thornton Leigh Hunt; but his most intimate friend was James Spedding, the editor of Bacon. Many of his portraits of them have been engraved, the best-known being those of Thackeray reading a letter, Carlyle writing at his desk, Harriet, Lady Ashburton (in Lord Houghton's Monographs), Frederick Denison Maurice, Mrs. Gaskell, Archbishop Trench, and William Edward Forster. His portraits of Tennyson and Carlyle are engraved in Home's New Spirit of the Age, 1844. One of his most successful portraits in oil is that of Leigh Hunt, painted in 1837, but never quite finished. It was exhibited in the National Portrait Exhibition of 1868, and photographed for Leigh Hunt's Correspondence, published in 1862.

Laurence married Anastasia Gliddon, cousin and adopted sister of Mrs. Thornton Leigh Hunt, and during his early married life he visited Florence and Venice, studying diligently the methods of the old masters, and endeavouring to discover the secrets of their success. In 1854, he visited the United States, and while staying at Longfellow's residence in Massachusetts he drew a portrait of James Russell Lowell, which has been engraved.

He died at 6 Wells Street, Oxford Street, London, from the effects of an operation, on 28 Feb. 1884, in the seventy-second year of his age. There are by him in the National Portrait Gallery portraits in oil of Charles Babbage and Sir Thomas Bourchier, R.N., and an unfinished head of Thackeray, as well as chalk drawings of Sir Frederick Pollock, bart., and Sir Charles Wheatstone, and an unfinished sketch of Matthew James Higgins ('Jacob Omnium'). The Scottish National Portrait Gallery has a head in crayons of Thomas Carlyle. His portrait of Dr. Whewell is in Trinity College, Cambridge, and one of Thackeray is in the Reform Club, London.

[Athenæum, 1884; Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, ed. Graves, 1886-9; Exhibition Catalogues of the Royal Academy, 1836-82; Exhibition Catalogues of the Society of British Artists, 1834-53; Information from Horace N. Pym, Esq., of Foxwold, Brasted; Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 32, by Robert Edmund Graves; Sister Projects: en.Wikipedia article.]



LAWRENCE, Samuel, a portrait painter, was born in 1811. His first appearance in London was at the Exhibition of the Society of British Artists in 1834, when he contributed two portraits. In 1836, he sent to the Royal Academy portraits of Matthew Gisborne, Mrs. Somervilie, and another. He died in 1884. His portraits are mostly in crayons, and among them may be named:
Right Honourable J. Erskine; Charles Dickens (Boz). 1838; Thomas Carlyle. 1841; Sir Frederick Pollock; John Hullah; Professor Sedgwick; Lord Ashburton; Rev. Frederick Denison Maurice; Sir Henry Taylor; Dr. Whewell; Leigh Hunt; George Grote; James Spedding; Charles Babbage. (National Portrait Gallery); Captain Bourchier. (The same); Professor Wheatstone. (The same); William Makepeace Thackeray. (The same); Robert Browning.

Bryans Dictionary of painters and engravers, 1899




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