Open main menu

Patch, Thomas (DNB00)


PATCH, THOMAS (d. 1782), painter and engraver, after studying art in London, went as a young man to Italy, making his way thither, chiefly on foot, in company with Richard Dalton the artist. He arrived at Rome some time before 1750, and became a student at the academy there. He was patronised by the Earl of Charlemont and other amateurs, for whom he painted or copied pictures. His eccentric behaviour, however, drew on him the displeasure of the church authorities, and he had to leave Rome hurriedly towards the end of 1755. He then removed to Florence, where he resided until his death. When in Rome he became acquainted, and appears to have travelled in company, with Sir Joshua Reynolds [q. v.], who introduced a portrait of Patch into the caricature of ‘The School of Athens,’ drawn by Reynolds in 1751. At Florence Patch became well known among the English residents, and was a great friend of Sir Horace Mann [q. v.], who frequently recommended Patch and his works to Horace Walpole and other friends in England or on their travels. Patch was one of the first artists to discern the supreme merits of Masaccio's frescos in the Church of the Carmini at Florence. He made careful drawings of these, which are the more valuable as the original paintings were shortly afterwards seriously damaged by fire. Though Patch had no previous experience of engraving, he etched these drawings on copper, and published them in twenty-six plates in 1770 as ‘The Life of the Celebrated Painter, Masaccio,’ with a dedication to Sir Horace Mann. In 1772 he published a series of twenty-four etchings from the works of Fra Bartolommeo, dedicated to Horace Walpole; and another series from the pictures by Giotto in the Church of the Carmini, dedicated to Bernardo Manetti. In 1774 he published a set of engravings by himself and F. Gregory from Lorenzo Ghiberti's Gates of the Baptistery of San Giovanni at Florence. All these works have merit, and entitle Patch to a foremost place among the students of early Florentine art. Patch also executed a number of caricatures of English travellers and residents in Florence, including two of himself. A small ‘caricature’ painting of the bibliophile Duke of Roxburghe, by Patch, is in the National Portrait Gallery. He painted conversation pieces and landscapes. Two views of the Arno by him are at Hampton Court; and he engraved a similar view himself. He also engraved portraits of Nicolas Poussin, Sir J. Hawkwood, A. P. Bellori (after C. Maratti), some landscapes after Gaspar Poussin, &c. Patch was seized with apoplexy in Sir Horace Mann's house at Florence, and died on 30 April 1782. There are a few drawings by him in the print-room at the British Museum. His brother, James Patch, was a surgeon in Norfolk Street, London.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Doran's Mann and Manners in Florence; Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. App. x.]

L. C.