Berchet, Peter (DNB00)

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BERCHET, PETER (1659–1720), painter, was born in France in 1659. He studied under Charles de Lafosse, and at the age of eighteen obtained employment in the royal palaces. He came to England in 1681 to work under Rambour, a French painter of architecture, but after a brief stay returned to France. On paying a second visit to this country he received a commission from King William III to assist in the decoration of his new palace at Loo in Holland, and laboured there for fifteen months. On his return he finally settled in England, where he found extensive occupation in the houses of the nobility. He painted the staircase of the Duke of Schomberg's house in Pall Mall, and the picture of the Ascension on the ceiling of the chapel of Trinity College, Oxford. During the latter part of his life, in consequence of ill-health, he confined himself to small easel pictures, which were chiefly of a mythological character. He died in Marylebone, where he had long resided, on 1 Jan. 1720. There are engravings from Berchet's pictures by John Smith, Simon, and Vertue, and he also etched a few plates from his own designs, amongst them 'St. Cecilia in the clouds playing the violin,' a ticket for a concert, 1696.

[Walpole's Antecdotes of Painting (Wornum), p. 604; Strutt's Biog. Dict. of Engravers (1785); Redgrave's Dictionary of Artists (1878); MS. notes in British Museum.]

L. F.