Portrait of Thomas Nunn

about 1889-1937

Portrait of Thomas Nunn by unknown artist, oil on canvas. Thomas Nunn is pictured seated half-length, dressed in black against a dark background. His right hand is at his lapel and his left is resting on the arm of the chair, and holds a white crumpled cloth. The painting is in a deep, rectangular, gilt frame.

Thomas Hancock Nunn (1859-1937) was the son of Sarah Hancock and John Nunn, and a member of the Hancock family of Marlborough, England. The Hancocks were a significant British family in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, known for their contributions to science, art, and industry.

Although Thomas Hancock Nunn’s brother, John Hancock Nunn, followed the family line in the rubber industry, Thomas himself instead chose to devote his life to the poor and had no interest in business. He is best known for being a pioneer of social services in Whitechapel, London.

This object is part of a collection relating to the Hancock family, acquired in 2018 from a descendant and family historian of the Hancocks. The collection comprises portraits covering 4 generations of the Hancock family, personal and business archives, and a series of related objects. Thomas Hancock Nunn’s great uncle Thomas Hancock is the centre of the story – inventor of the patent masticator and founder of the British rubber industry. The Hancock company ran until the 1930s, led by Thomas’s nephew and assistant, James Lyne Hancock, and then John Hancock Nunn.


Object Number:
gold plated (gilded), paint and wood (unidentified)