Henry Edridge, John Hawkins

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)


Country House
John Hawkins
Medium and support
Pencil on paper
Overall height: 39 cm, Overall width: 30 cm
Henry Edridge (1768-1821)
Catalogue Number


John Hawkins (1761–1841) was a traveller and geologist, the fourth and youngest son of Thomas Hawkins. Hawkins’s first interests were in mineralogy and about 1780 he took lessons from Rudolf Eric Raspe, a German-born geologist whom he helped bring to Cornwall. In 1786 he became the first English student to attend the Freiberg Bergakademie under Abraham Werner, where he studied mining and geology. Hawkins, who visited Greece in 1787, travelled to Italy the following year, returning there in 1793, on his way to Greece.1 In 1801 Hawkins married Mary Esther Sibthorp (TN45). In 1806 he bought the estate of Bignor Park, near Petworth, West Sussex, and thenceforth divided his residence between there and London. Between 1826 and 1830 he completely rebuilt his Sussex home in Grecian style, filling it with his fine artistic and scientific collections. Hawkins had extraordinarily wide interests. Among his friends he counted the sculptor John Flaxman and the visionary poet and painter William Blake, who referred to him as ‘Our good and kind friend Hawkins’.2 Hawkins’s depiction here by Edridge, leaning on a Greek altar, was presumably a reference to the time he had spent botanising in Greece with his wife’s half-brother, John Sibthorp, in the mid-1790s.

The inventory of March 1928 locates the picture in the Drawing Room, where it is described, with TN45 and TN48, as, ‘Set of three tinted pencil drawings, framed and glazed by Edridge 1801–2, John Hawkins Esq of Bignor Park, Mrs John Hawkins wife of above, and another lady – all full length with garden backgrounds’.

by Jonny Yarker


  1. John Ingamells, A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701–1800, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997, p. 474.

  2. William Blake to William Hayley, 23 October 1804, in Geoffrey Keynes, Blake: Complete Writings with Variant Readings, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972, p. 851.


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