Thomas Hickey, Portrait Painter

(fl. 1756-1816)

Portrait Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was second son of Noah Hickey, a confectioner in Capel Street, Dublin, and younger brother of John Hickey (q.v.). He studied in the drawing schools of the Dublin Society, where, between 1753 and 1756 he won several prizes; and while still a boy gained a reputation for his likenesses in chalks. One of these early works, a "Portrait of Charles Lucas," dated 1758, is in the National Gallery of Ireland. After spending some years in Italy he returned to Dublin in 1767. "Faulkner's Journal" of 16th May, 1767, announced that "Mr. Thomas Hickey arrived from Italy from the pursuit of his studies in the art of painting." In 1768, 1769 and 1770 he exhibited portraits with the Society of Artists in William Street. He was then living in Little Britain Street. He did not receive the patronage he had expected, and depressed by the neglect shown him he went to London, and his name appears as an exhibitor in the Royal Academy in 1772, 1775 and 1792. Although he appears to have enjoyed a fair practice in London as a portrait painter little information as to his life can be found. He worked for a time in Bath, and seems to have visited India towards the end of the century. A book, "The History of Painting and Sculpture from the earliest Accounts," published in Calcutta in 1788, is said to be by him. He was in London, living in Margaret Street, Cavendish Square in 1792, and in that year became attached to Lord Macartney's mission to China as "portrait-painter." In the possession of Mr. Francis Edwards, High Street, Marylebone, is a volume of drawings, signed T.H., made on board the "Lion," very poor sketches of landscapes. Hickey subsequently revisited India, and was certainly there in 1816, for in that year he painted and engraved a portrait of Colonel Colin Mackenzie at Madras. The date of his death has not been found.

Amongst Hickey's pictures are:

Mrs. Abington as Lady Bab Lardoon in "The Maid of the Oaks." [Garrick Club.]

Sir Nathaniel Barry, President of the College of Physicians, Dublin. [College of Physicians, Dublin, bequest of Sir John Banks, K.C.B.]

John, 4th Duke of Bedford. [Mansion House, Dublin.] A copy of the portrait by Gainsborough in the Provost's House.

William Brereton, M.C. in Bath. Engraved by J. Collyer in 1778.

Duke of Cumberland. R.A., 1775.

Thomas Davis, bookseller, actor, etc. Engraved in stipple by L. Schiavonetti, 1794.

William Dawson, M.C. at Bath. Engraved by J. Collyer in 1779.

Gerard De Vismes, Painted in 1773. Christie's, Duke of Cambridge's Collection, 25th June, 1904.

Mr. Ferguson of Monkhood. Signed and dated 1787. Christie's, 26th May, 1906.

Governor Harrison.

Norah Harrison. [This and above] Small ovals on copper, 11 ¾ by 9 ¾ inches, Christie's, 27th January, 1912.

Thomas Langdale. Engraved by W. C. Wilson; private plate.

Thomas Leland, D.D., F.T.C.D. [National Gallery of Ireland.] Ex. Soc. Artists, Dublin, 1768, as "Portrait of a Gentleman in Academic Dress." Formerly belonged to Sir Thomas Drew. [The identification of the portrait of Thomas Leland, as that exhibited in 1768, painted by Hickey, must be rejected. The picture bears no resemblance to Hickey's work and is probably by Northcote or painted in the studio of Reynolds.—from Additions and Corrections.]

Hon. George Livius, Member of the Bengal Council. A small picture, oval, 10 by 7 ¾ inches. Painted in 1782. Christie's, 9th Dec., 1911.

Charles Lucas, M.P. Collection of Henry Harrington, sold in Dublin in June, 1832; perhaps the portrait engraved in line by Patrick Halpin.

Charles Lucas, M.P. Chalk; signed and dated 1758. [National Gallery of Ireland.]

George, Earl Macartney. Engraved by J. Hall as frontispiece to Vol. II of Staunton's "Lord Macartney's Embassy to China"; 1796; also, bust only, by R. De Launay.

Colonel Colin Mackenzie, Surveyor-General of India, and three distinguished Brahmins. [India Office.] Engraved by Hickey himself in Madras in 1816.

Samuel Madden. [National Gallery of Ireland.] The ascription to Hickey is doubtful.

Rev. H. Martyn, Chaplain to the H.E.I. Co., Bengal. Engraved in mezzotint by W. Day.

Richard, 2nd Earl of Mornington, afterwards Marquess Wellesley. [Banquetting Hall, Government House, Madras.] Painted at Madras by public subscription.

Henry Mossop, actor. Chalk drawing. [National Gallery of Ireland.] Engraved, in reverse, in "Exshaw's Magazine," May, 1775.

Thomas, 1st Viscount Northland. [Earl of Ranfurly.]

Anne, Viscountess Northland. [Earl of Ranfurly.]

Sir Fielding Ould. Chalk; signed and dated 1759. [National Gallery of Ireland.]

Justice Park. [Magdalen Hospital, London.]

Daniel Race. Painted in 1772; engraved in mezzotint by James Watson in 1773.

Richard Roberts, D.D., Master of St. Paul's School. Engraved in mezzotint by W. Say, 1814.

Benjamin Roebuck, paymaster-general in Madras. Engraved in stipple by A. Cardon.

John, 1st Earl of Sheffield, and Colonel Ridley. Christie's, Earl of Sheffield's collection, 11th Dec., 1909.

George, 1st Marquess Townshend. Signed Hickey Pinxit 1769. [Mansion House, Dublin.]

John Webb. Small oval, 10 ½ by 9 inches, dated 1784. Christie's, collection of Claude A. Ponsonby, 28th March, 1909.

Josiah Webbe. Engraved by Knight.

Sir Armine Wodehouse, Bart., M.P. Signed and dated 1773. [National Gallery of Ireland.]

Wellesley—see Mornington.

A Lady, with her Son and Daughter. Signed and dated 1781. Christie's, Madame de Falbe's collection, May, 1900.

A Chinese Scene, with numerous figures. Sketch in pen and water-colour. [British Museum.]

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