Thomas Worlidge was born in Peterborough in 1700 to Roman Catholic parents. He studied art in London as a pupil of the Genoese refugee Alessandro Maria Grimaldi. He went on to study with engraver Louis-Philippe Boitard. About 1740 Worlidge settled in London in the neighbourhood of Covent Garden, where he remained for the rest of his life. He spent the winter social season in Bath, painting the portraits of society members. His most popular work consisted of heads in pencil, for which he charged two guineas. The dominant force in his work was Rembrandt. His imitations of Rembrandt's work in etching and dry point sold well and remained popular after his death.
He married three times and is said to have had thirty-two children by his three marriages. Sadly, only Thomas, a son by his third wife, survived him. He died on 23 September 1766, and was buried in Hammersmith church.
Image from the National Portrait Gallery collection.