Gaspars, Jan Baptist (DNB00)

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GASPERS (JASPERS), JAN BAPTIST (1620?–1691), portrait-painter, was a native of Antwerp, and in 1641–2 was admitted a member of the guild of St. Luke in that city. He was a pupil of Thomas Willeboorts Bosschaert. He came to England towards the close of Charles I's reign, and was one of the purchasers at the dispersal by Cromwell of that king's art-collections. He worked a great deal for General John Lambert [q. v.], and after the Restoration became little more than an assistant to Sir Peter Lely. Lely employed Gaspars to paint for him the draperies and postures of his portraits to such an extent that Gaspars obtained the nickname of ‘Lely's Baptist.’ He acted in a similar capacity for Sir Godfrey Kneller, and it is also said for Riley. Gaspars was, however, a clever draughtsman, and drew good designs for tapestry. He painted some fair portraits himself, including portraits of Charles II at the Painter-Stainers' Hall and at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and a portrait of Thomas Hobbes, the philosopher, presented by Aubrey the antiquary to Gresham College. That he made reduced copies of pictures for engravers is probable from the existence in the print room of the British Museum of a drawing from Vandyck's picture of Lord John and Lord Bernard Stuart, made apparently for R. Tompson's engraving. The print room also possesses two impressions of a large etching by Gaspars, humorously depicting ‘The Banquet of the Gods.’ Gaspars died in London in 1691, and was buried in St. James's Church, Piccadilly. There is a portrait of him in the early edition of Walpole's ‘Anecdotes of Painting.’

[Pilkington's Dict. of Painters; Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Dallaway and Wornum; Immerzeel's Levens en Werken der Hollandsche en Vlaamsche Kunstschilders; Rombouts and Van Lerius, Liggeren van de St. Lucas-Gilde te Antwerpen; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists.]

L. C.