Portrait of the artist Thomas Stothard in his studio oil on canvas 91 x 71cm (35 13/16 x 27 15/16in).
This painting, Martin Postle of the Tate Gallery has agreed, is the earliest depiction of the studio of an English artist, anything earlier being either allegorical or of the artist in his studio, where the studio is very much incidental to the artist. The present painting is clearly primarily a depiction of the studio. In the painting can be seen the artist's easels, blank and working canvases, his mirrors (one on a stand), a magnifying glass, his mahl stick, palette, palette knife, bottle and brushes on his working table, the back of a picture showing the wedges, props and costumes including a dress sword, pictures hanging and in progress, a half rolled piece of paper (perhaps a drawing of The Fatal Sisters), and his chest of brushes and materials.
It was once thought to be painted by Stothard himself: 'When he painted himself in his rather bleak studio in Newman Street it was with a large allegorical canvas on the easel and a free version of Titian's Venus and Adonis hanging on the wall.' (T.S.R. Boase, English Art, 1800-1870, 1959, p. 9). With reference to Boase, Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, regards the painting as a 'so-called self-portrait' and dates it to c. 1790. In fact the picture probably dates from about 1800 because another canvas in it is of Stothard's The Fatal Sisters which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1801. Mrs Bray, the widow of Stothard's second son, in her reminiscences of Thomas Stothard describes his studio at 28 Newman Street.
EXHIBITED: Creative Quarters: the art world in London 1700-2000, Museum of London, 2001