George Thompson Esq

This man is short-sided. (Excuse pun).

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Watercolour painting of George Thomson Esq wearing spectacles

This watercolour painting shows one George Thompson Esq looking very dapper in his early nineteenth century attire. Look, however, how short the sides of his spectacles are. They don't even reach as far as his ears. Rather, the sides taper into a point, fenestrated and filled in with padding. It seems an unusual shape to grip the temples effectively and George does seem to be wearing the spectacles a little low on his nose as a consequence. See how the joint and the oval rims cast a shadow on his face. Who George was we can't say for certain as the name is rather common (That's in no way to cast any aspersion on his social standing).

Detail from the George Thompson painting

There was a Member of Parliament by that name in the 1830s but we don't know what he looked like and if this is him the portrait cannot date from the time he sat in the Commons as he is afforded the title Esq, not MP. If you have an alternative theory as to whom the bespectacled Mr Thompson might be do let us know.

The painting was donated to the BOA Museum in January 1937 by the dealer A. S. Jones. It was probably a reward because the museum had purchased many pictorial items from him during the 1930s but it wasn't in the best condition. The picture required extensive restoration to make it fit for display. Indeed before our conservator got working on it we had thought it was just a print rather than an original painting. Discovering the truth was a rather nice surprise.

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