A full-length portrait of a carpenter, aged 48, working at his bench with his plane and with a dog at his feet. Thomas Rogers worked at Erddig for more than 65 years: he started as a pig-boy in 1798, and went on to be a thatcher's assistant. He was made a pensioner at the age of 90 and died in 1875 aged 94. In a daguerreotype photograph taken of the servants on the steps of Erdigg in 1852 he can be seen holding a saw and standing next to his son, and successor, James Rogers.
There are two sets of servant portraits at Erddig and this is one of the second (and superior) set. Individual portraits of servants are not uncommon, but the sets at Erddig, which established a tradition later carried on in the form of photographs, may be unique. The first set was painted in the 1790s for Philip Yorke I, who wrote and published the 'Crude-Ditties' accompanying them. The second set was painted for his son and successor, Simon Yorke II, who never had himself portrayed.
Where to see this painting?
National Trust, Erddig
Wrexham (Wrecsam), Wales, LL13 0YT
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.