<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

IIIF Actions
Thomas Patch, 1725–1782

Sketchbook of Portrait Studies

Additional Title(s):

A Sketchbook, Bound in Carta Fiorentina, Containing 77 Pages on Many of which Portrait Studies are Drawn

Materials & Techniques:
Graphite, red chalk, and pen and brown ink on medium, slightly textured, cream laid paper bound in carta fiorentina
Sheet: 8 3/4 x 6 1/2 inches (22.2 x 16.5 cm), Spine: 8 7/8 inches (22.5 cm)

Inscribed in graphite inside front cover: "-23 pages with drawings | -1 loose drawing"; in pen and black ink: "These Sketches | executed by Patch | at Florence 1770"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors-Sketchbooks
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
books | botanists | chairs | coach (carriage) | desks | dogs (animals) | flutes (aerophones) | Grand Tour | guns | horses (animals) | mantels | monocle | muffs | music | portrait | sofa | swords | tricornes | violins
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.
IIIF Manifest:

For the British artist studying in Italy, the sketchbook was a crucial tool. Three on "classic ground" the act of drawing focused the attention and aided the understanding. Back in Britain the sketchbook provided not only a record of the art and landscape encountered but also a repertoire of poses, figural groupings, and compositional ideas from the ancients and the masters of the Renaissance and Baroque or of richly evocative landscape elements that could be incorporated into their own art. The sketchbook attributed to Thomas Patch is of a different nature. It records not the beauties of Italian art and the Italian countryside but a gallery of British Grand Tourists. Although the attribution of the sketchbook as well as the accuracy of the inscribed identifications have been questioned, the lively studies are plausibly the work of Patch, and the displayed portrait could well be that of the twenty-seven-year-old Edward Gibbon, future author of History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. After being banished from the Papal States for an unnamed indiscretion, Patch took up residence in Florence. There he became a close friend of Sir Thomas Mann, the British Minister to Florence, through whom he was introduce to all the visiting British worthies, including, in 1764, the young Gibbon.

Scott Wilcox

Wilcox, Forrester, O'Neil, Sloan. The Line of Beauty: British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2001. pg. 126, cat. no. 107, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-05-19 - 2001-08-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

The Grand Tour (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, 1998-01-10 - 1998-04-10) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

English Portrait Drawings & Miniatures (Yale Center for British Art, 1979-12-05 - 1980-02-17) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

John Marciari, The Grand Tour : an exhibition held at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library 15 January through 31 March MCMCVIII, Yale University Library, New Haven, 1998, p. 22, N8214.5 .I8 M27 1998 + Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Patrick Noon, English Portrait Drawings & Miniatures, Yale Center for British Art, 1979, pp. 41-2, no. 44, NC772 N66+ (Wall Shelf) (YCBA) [YCBA]

Sotheby's sale catalogue : Important eighteenth and nineteenth century English drawings and watercolours : 21 March 1974, Sotheby's, March 21, 1974, pp. 46-7, lot 44, Auction Catalogues (YCBA)

Scott Wilcox, Line of beauty : British drawings and watercolors of the eighteenth century, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, pp. 126, 128, 129, no. 107, NC228 W53 2001 (YCBA) [YCBA]

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.