1701 - 1779
Thomas Hudson was born in the West Country, Devonshire or Somerset. The family enjoyed connections in Exeter but he may actually have come from Dunster.
Apprenticed to the painter Jonathan Richardson in London, he married his master's daughter sometime before 1725, apparently against Richardson's wishes. His most successful and productive period was between 1740 and 1760, during which time he established residence in Cross Deep, Twickenham.
Houses in Twickenham
In 1753 Hudson acquired property on the banks of the Thames from the executors of the architect Roger Morris. Morris had died in 1749 either having just built, or being about to build a villa here to his own design. Like Pope before him and the Earl of Radnor he was permitted to dig a tunnel beneath the road to connect with garden land on the other side. Hudson also acquired this land and may have built on it a further house which came to be known as Mr Hudson's Gothic House. These two houses, one high Palladian and the other in Gothic style must have formed an interesting contrast, facing each other across the road.
Hudson spent an enjoyable time at Twickenham, fraternising with Sir William Stanhope at Pope's Villa, Joseph Hickey, Samuel Scott and Frederick Atherton Hindley in Radnor House. Amusing anecdotes are recounted by William Hickey, Joseph's tearaway son.
His art collection
Hudson also formed an art collection, which he had started before coming to Twickenham. This included the original terracotta figure of Handel modelled by Roubiliac. His collection was extensive and highly thought of: it was dispersed in three sales following his death in 1779. He also acquired Roubiliac's model for the Shakespeare statue undertaken for David Garrick at Hampton.
Ellen Miles, Thomas Hudson 1701-1779, bicentenary exhibition catalogue, Greater London Council, 1979
William Hickey, Memoirs 1749-1775, ed. Alfred Spencer, Alfred A Knopf, 1921
Anthony Beckles Willson, Mr Pope & Others at Cross Deep in the 18th Century, 1996