Butts, John (DNB00)

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BUTTS, JOHN (d. 1764), painter, was born and bred in Cork, and with but little instruction developed extraordinary powers in landscape. His compositions, in which he is fond of introducing figures, are Claude- like in subject and in treatment, but English in touch and tint, showing great breadth and harmony of colour. To supply the wants of a large family of young children, and, it must be added, his own vicious propensities, Butts was glad to do anything, from scene-painting to coach-panels and signboards. He thus fell an easy prey, when about thirty years of age, to a dealer in Dublin, with whom he shared a garret and squandered his earnings in drink. His vices brought him to an early grave in 1764. James Barry, R.A., was a warm admirer of the genius of Butts, and declared that his works were his ‘first guide’ (see a letter to Dr. Sleigh, Works, 1809, i. 20–22).

[Redgrave's Dictionary of Artists (1878), p. 66; Warburton, Whitelaw, and Walsh's History of Dublin, ii. 1180.]

G. G.