|Artist||Jacobus Houbraken after Sir Peter Lely|
|Published||Impensis J. & P. Knapton Londini, 1747.|
|Dimensions||Image 352 x 212 mm , Plate 370 x 225 mm, Sheet|
A bust length portrait of Thomas Sydenham turned to left but facing the viewer wearing a lace collar and a dark robe, all in an architectural oval with a vase, books, scroll, and an Aesculapius' stick below.
This portrait of Thomas Sydenham is from Thomas Birch's The Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain. The portraits featured in the series, which were engraved by Jacob Houbraken and George Vertue, were originally issued from 1737 onwards in portfolios of four portraits. Between 1743 and 1752, the series was published by John and Paul Knapton in London in the form of Birch's The Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain, and contained biographies alongside the portraits. The number of plates included varied from edition to edition. Although the majority contained 108 plates, some editions contained as many as 120. Houbraken was responsible for producing a large proportion of the portraits, with Vertue only engraving around seven. The ornamental surroundings featured on the plates were engraved prior to the portraits, and were done so by Hubert-François Gravelot.
Thomas Sydenham (September 10, 1624- December 29, 1689) was an English physician originally from Dorset. He studied medicine at Oxford and Cambridge. Known as the father of English medicine and the English Hippocrates, he was the author of Observationes Medicae, which became a standard medical text for two centuries.
Jacob, or Jacobus, Houbraken (1698-1780) was a Dutch portrait engraver, and dealer and collector of Rembrandt's etchings. Born in Dordrecht, he was the son of the artist Arnold Houbraken. In 1707 he moved to Amsterdam, where he assisted his father on a book of the lives of the Dutch Golden Age artists, entitled De Groote Schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen (1718-1721). Between 1743 and 1752, Houbraken worked with George Vertue on Thomas Birch's Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain. He also engraved the portraits for Jan van Gool's Nieuwe schouburg der Nederlantsche kunstschilders (1750-51). Between 1752 and 1759, he worked on Jan Wagenaar's Vaderlandsche historie, which was published by Isaac Tirion.
Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680) was the portrait painter and Principal Painter to Charles II. Born of Dutch parents, he trained in Haarlem, and came to London in the 1640s, where he quickly established a reputation as a portraitist. In 1680 he was appointed Principal Painter at the Restoration and knighted. Lely was prolific, and easily the most fashionable painter of his time. He was known for his high living as well as his celebrated collection of paintings and drawings. Pepys called him 'a mighty proud man, and full of state'.
Ver Huell 99, O' Donoghue 4