Crosse, Richard (DNB00)

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CROSSE, RICHARD (1742–1810), miniature painter, son of John and Mary Crosse, of an old Devonshire family, was born at Knowle, near Cullompton, Devonshire, 24 April 1742, deaf and dumb, an affliction from which one of his sisters also suffered. About 1778 he formed an attachment to Miss Cobley, who, however, refused him, and subsequently married Benjamin Haydon, and was mother of B. R. Haydon, the famous historical painter [q. v.] This was a great blow to Crosse, and was the cause of his living in retirement from general society. Having developed great abilities as a miniature painter, he came to London, and in 1758 obtained a premium at the Society of Arts. In 1760 he first exhibited at the Society of Artists, in 1761 at the Free Society of Artists, of which he was a member, and in 1770 at the Royal Academy, and continued to contribute miniatures to these exhibitions up to 1795. He resided during this time in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, and in 1790 was appointed painter in enamel to his majesty. Shortly after this he gave up active practice, and retired to Wells, where he resided with Mr. Cobley, prebend of Wells, a brother of Mrs. Haydon. Here in 1808 he again encountered his old love. Haydon in his diary gives a touching account of the interview between his mother and Crosse, which was quite unexpected, and took place after an interval of thirty years; it was their last meeting, as Mrs. Haydon died on her journey to London from Exeter, during which she had stopped at Wells to see her brother. Crosse died at Knowle in 1810, aged 68. He ranks very high as a miniature painter, especially for delicate and natural colouring, and was held in great estimation by his contemporaries. He also tried painting in water colours, and exhibited in 1788 a portrait of Mrs. Billington in this manner. Some early portraits in oil of himself and his family are in the possession of Richard Reeder Crosse, his great-nephew, of Bolealler, Cullompton, and the Rev. R. B. Carew of Collipriest, near Tiverton, who also possess numerous miniatures by him. A miniature of himself was engraved by R. Thew, and published 1 Sept. 1792, and also a lady's portrait; another of the Marchioness of Salisbury was engraved by Benjamin Smith in 1791, and a portrait of Gregory Sharpe, master of the Temple, was engraved in mezzotint by Valentine Green in 1770.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1880; Gent. Mag. (1810), lxxx. 397; Devonshire Association for the Promotion of Literature and Art, xv. 120; Taylor's Life of B. R. Haydon, i. 74; Catalogues of the Royal Academy, &c.; private information.]

L. C.