The reputation of Charles Heathcote Tatham (1772-1848) the architect and designer, was considerable by the time Linnell met him at the Keppel Street Baptist church in 1811. Tatham had been “adopted” at the outset of his career by Henry Holland, architect to the Prince of Wales, and was sent by Holland to study in Italy. There he developed his knowledge of classical architecture and a circle of influential companions, among them Canova, Angelia Kauffmann, Sir William and Lady Hamilton, and notably, Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle, who became his patron. Back in England Tatham developed an important and influential practice from his house at 101 Park Street, Mayfair, and his significant commissions of the period included the sculpture gallery at Castle Howard as well as architectural and the supply of designs for furniture and metalwork for patrons who included the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Bedford, Lady Greville, the Marquess of Stafford, Earl Spencer and Lord Yarborough. However, Tatham was uncompromising and litigious and this tended to alienate patrons and, in spite of his prodigious talent, his career was on the wane by the time that Linnell met him. Linnell wrote that Tatham was “naturally a proud man which appeared unhappily the case in the latter part of his career, for had he but been wise enough to accept commissions for works of inferior size he might have been fully employed, but he stood out for large jobs from the titled great and would not undertake jobs from builders.” The result was that Tatham had to abandon his Mayfair house for the more modest Alpha Cottage, Alpha Road, Marylebone, where Blake, Haydon, Palmer and Linnell were frequent visitors. Tatham finally ended his days as Warden of the Holy Trinity Hospital, Greenwich. Tatham encouraged Linnell and facilitated several portrait commissions including those of Thomas Chevalier, surgeon to George III; Lady Anstruther and Sir Arthur Paget. He also gave Linnell introductions to aristocratic acquaintances who wished to have drawing lessons. Of Tatham’s children, his eldest son, Frederick, became an artist and follower of William Blake. His daughter, Julia, eloped with the painter, George Richmond, on funds borrowed from Samuel Palmer. The sketches in the present drawing showing a small girl playing are almost certainly of Julia Tatham.
There exists a portrait of C H Tatham by Thomas Kearsley (untraced) and a large crayon portrait of Tatham by B R Haydon drawn in 1823 is in the British Museum.