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Tresham, Henry

    Full Name: Tresham, Henry

    Gender: male

    Date Born: c. 1749-1751

    Date Died: 1814

    Place Born: Dublin, Ireland

    Place Died: London, Greater London, England, UK

    Home Country/ies: United Kingdom

    Subject Area(s): British (modern) and catalogues raisonnés


    Together with William Young Ottley, wrote a catalog for the British Gallery, 1818. Tresham was an art student at the Dublin Society of Artists where he won a prize in 1773. After moving to London, he met John Campbell, later 1st Baron Cawdor (1753-1821). It was likely with Campbell that Tresham journeyed to Rome in 1775 where he remained for 14 years. In Rome he met the various artists who comprised the classical revival movement, including Antonio Canova (Tresham was Campbell’s agent with Canova), Henry Fuseli, and Thomas Banks. Tresham worked primarily a painter, creating large-scale pictures from classical history for Frederick Augustus Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol (1730-1803), Bishop of Derry. He also dealt in art and antiquities. In 1784, still in Italy, he issued his Le avventure di Saffo, a folio of aquatints. His stature as an artist and connoisseur was such that at his return to London in 1789 he immediately exhibited at the Royal Academy. He was appointed an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1791 full member of the Royal Academy in 1799. He was professor of painting 1807-09. Tresham continued to deal in art in England, his most famous and infamous sale being the group of supposedly authentic Etruscan vases to Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle (1748-1825). Tresham began writing a guide to the British Gallery, but died of an unspecified illness before completion. It was taken over by William Young Ottley and completed in 1818. Tresham never married. Many of his drawings are housed at the Yale Center for British Art.

    Selected Bibliography

    and Ottley, William Young. The British Gallery of Pictures: Selected from the Most Admired Productions of the Old Masters in Great Britain, accompanied with Descriptions, Historical and Critical. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1818.


    Dictionary of Art; Egerton, Judy. “Henry Tresham.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.


    "Tresham, Henry." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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