Lee, Frederick Richard (DNB00)

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LEE, FREDERICK RICHARD (1799–1879), painter and royal academician, was born at Barnstaple in Devonshire in 1799. He entered the army early in life, and obtained a commission in the 56th regiment. He served through a campaign in the Netherlands, but from weak health was obliged to leave the army. He had practised painting as an amateur, and now devoted himself to it as a profession. He became a student of the Royal Academy in 1818. He exhibited at the British Institution in 1822 and the following years. His pictures were favourably noticed, and on one occasion he obtained a premium of 50l. He exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy in 1824, and was from that time a prolific contributor to both exhibitions, and to others elsewhere. His favourite subject was the scenery of Devonshire, but he also painted Scottish and French landscape. Lee had a house at Pilton, near Barnstaple, but being from early life devoted to the sea, he lived a great deal on board his yacht, in which he visited the coasts of France, Spain, and Italy. Among interesting pictures of the sea-coast were 'The Coast of Cornwall at the Land's End' and 'The Bay of Biscay.' both exhibited in 1859, some views of Gibraltar, 'The Breakwater at Plymouth' (1861), and some views of Caprera, the home of Garibaldi, whom Lee visited in his yacht in 1864. His English landscapes were, however, his most popular works. In some of them the figures or cattle were introduced by his friend Mr. Thomas Sidney Cooper, R.A. For Mr. Wells of Redleaf, Kent, he painted some pictures of dead game, fish, and still life. There are four pictures by him in the National Gallery, two being from the Vernon collection, including 'The Cover Side.' in which the dogs, figures, and game were inserted by Sir Edwin Landseer. At the South Kensington Museum there are three pictures in oil and two in water-colour by Lee. Lee was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1834, and an academician in 1838. He exhibited for the last time in 1870, and became an honorary retired academician in the following year. Lee died at Vleesch Bank, Herman station, in the division of Malmsay, South Africa, where some of his family were living, on 5 June 1879, in his eighty-first year.

[Ottley's Dict. of Recent and Living Painters; Art Journal, 1879, p. 184; Pycroft's Art in Devonshire; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1880.]

L. C.