Tag Archives: Thomas Bardwell

Philip Broke

Philip Broke (1702—1762) subscribed to both Kirby’s Historical Account, and the first edition of his Method of Perspective. We saw that Kirby had eight of the current Suffolk MPs as subscribers when his first book was published, but his reach did not end there.

Philip Broke was a former MP, having represented Ipswich from 1730 to 1732. The Broke Family had owned Broke Hall in Nacton, about five or six miles from Ipswich, since the time of Henry VIII. The old Hall was knocked down and rebuilt in the 1790s.

The modern Broke Hall

Philip was the second of three sons of Robert Broke and Elizabeth Hewytt. However, his eldest brother died unmarried, so that Philip inherited. The other brother, John, was a rector of Hintleham. Philip married Anne Bowse and they had six daughters and one son. Thomas Bardwell painted portraits of Philip and Anne, and also a conversation piece of the Broke and Bowse families.

The second work was painted in 1740, so the child is presumably their eldest daughter, Anne. The couple married in 1732, while Philip was MP. As a politician, Broke seems to have been fairly undistinguished. He was a Tory and consistently voted against the government, but he never returned after his first parliament. The Brokes were also near neighbors of Admiral Vernon, who was MP for Ipswich in the 1740s.

Philip and Anne’s only son, also called Philip, married Elizabeth Beaumont, daughter of another subscriber, Charles Beaumont, and one of their children, Sir Philip Bowes Vere Broke, was captain of HMS Shannon when she captured the USS Chesapeake in the War of 1812.

Related Posts:

A Clique of Politicians

Charles and Robert Beaumont

Edward Vernon

Nathaniel Acton (1725—1795)

Nathaniel Acton was a wealthy, and successful, Suffolk landowner. The Actons had been landowners since the late 1500s, having made their money in the Ipswich cloth trade. They had expanded their holdings in the 17th century, buying assorted farms, woods, and meadows, a practice continued by Nathaniel in the second half of the 18th century.  Nathaniel Acton was the only son of Nathaniel Acton of Bramford Hall and his third wife Elizabeth Fowle. Nathaniel’s father had been a third son, and only inherited in 1743 due to the deaths of his older brothers without issue. He died in 1745.

Nathaniel was thus in his early twenties when he subscribed to Kirby’s Historical Account, and in his early thirties when Gainsborough painted him in 1758. Gainsborough's portrait of Nathaniel Acton

In 1741, Nathaniel entered Bury school, where one John Wearg was a governor.  In 1753, Acton married Caroline Wearg, and Gainsborough painted her portrait, too. Gainsborough's portrait of Caroline Acton

Gainsborough also painted (possibly in the same year) Nathaniel’s sister, Elizabeth, who had married Richard Colvile.

Gainsborough's portrait of Elizabeth Colville

Nathaniel and Caroline had two children, Nathaniel and Harriet, before she died in 1761.  Nathaniel then married Dorothy Aspin of Bury St. Edmunds in the same year, and they had a daughter Caroline.  Dorothy lived until 1805. Her portrait was painted by Thomas Bardwell in 1762, but I do not have a picture to show you.  There is also a portrait of Nathaniel by Thomas Hudson, although I do not know the date. I must say he looks rather more dashing in the Hudson than the Gainsborough.

Hudson's portrait of Nathaniel Acton