THORNHILL, Sir James (c.1675-1734), of Thornhill, Dorset.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1675, s. of Walter Thornhill of Wareham by Mary, da. of Col. William Sydenham, gov. of Weymouth castle. m. Judith, 1s. 1da. who m. William Hogarth. Kntd. 2 May 1720.

Offices Held

King’s history painter 1720-d.; serjeant-painter 1720-32.


Thornhill was born at Weymouth of an ancient Dorset family. Having made a fortune by his painting, he purchased and re-built his ancestral seat at Thornhill. Returned without opposition for Weymouth, to whose church he presented an altar -piece painted by himself, he voted regularly with the Government. He died 13 May 1734, acclaimed as ‘the greatest history painter this kingdom ever produced’.1

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. Gent. Mag. 1734, pp. 174-5.