Hugh Bridport was an English-born artist and sometime architect who followed his brother, the decorative painter and drawing master George Bridport, to America (c. 1816) to form a drawing academy. He had trained in London with miniature painter Charles Wilkin and at the Royal Academy there as well. With him he brought the training to make a success in Philadelphia. His first venture into instruction involved his brother, with whom he established a drawing academy around 1816; but by 1818 Hugh Bridport and John Haviland had founded an architectural drawing academy which continued until 1822. His connection to Haviland would continue with the publication of Haviland's The Builder's Assistant (1818) for which he engraved the plates.
It is unknown if Bridport practiced architecture; he only listed himself under that profession in the Philadelphia city directory of 1819 although he is recorded as having entered the 1818 competition for the Bank of the United States which William Strickland won.
For most of his career Bridport styled himself as a portrait painter and miniaturist; he exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts several times between 1817 and 1843 and at the Artists' Fund Society in 1844-45. Bridport was one of the original members of the Franklin Institute (founded in 1824); later he would assist Haviland in drawing classes there, adding a position as teacher of drawing at the Institute in 1826 and remaining there through 1833.
Roger W. Moss, and
Sandra L. Tatman.
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