Lucas, John (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

LUCAS, JOHN (1807–1874), portrait painter, born in London on 4 July 1807, was son of William Lucas, whose family was long resident at King's Lynn in Norfolk. His mother was a Miss Calcott. His father was originally in the royal navy, but adopted the profession of literature, and was the author of a poem, 'The Fate of Bertha' (1800), 'The Duellists, or Men of Honour' (1805)), 'The Travels of Humanius' (1809), &c. He was also for some years sub-editor of the 'Sun' newspaper. Having a taste for art, Lucas was apprenticed to Samuel William Reynolds [q.v.], the mezzotint-engraver, under whom he worked with great assiduity, and attained some skill as an engraver. Samuel Cousins [q.v.] was his fellow-pupil. He devoted his spare time, however, to the study and practice of oil-painting, and at the close of his apprenticeship set up as a portrait-painter. He was a member of the Clipstone Street academy, where he worked with W. Etty [q. v.] and other well-known artists. One of his earliest patrons and sitters was Henry Milton, who introduced him to Mary Russell Mitford [q. v.], whose portrait he painted, and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1829. He had exhibited a portrait there for the first time in the preceding year. He became a great friend of Miss Mitford, but not being satisfied with the likeness of her he painted for her in its stead a portrait of her father. Subsequently he painted another portrait of her, which he kept in his studio, and it was purchased after his death for the National Portrait Gallery. Lucas rapidly became one of the fashionable portrait-painters of the day, and had an enormous practice. Many eminent people sat to him, including Queen Adelaide, the Prince Consort (four times), the Princess Royal, the Duke of Wellington (eight times), Lord and Lady Palmerston, Mr. Gladstone, Lord and Lady Mahon, and many of the court beauties. A very large portrait group by him of Robert Stephenson, Brunel, and other engineers consulting over the completion of the Menai bridge, was engraved by J. Scott. He contributed several portraits to Sir Robert Peel's gallery of contemporary portraits. He exhibited ninety-six portraits at the Royal Academy, thirteen at the British Institution, and eight at the Suffolk Street Gallery, between 1828 and his death. Many of his portraits were engraved, some, like that of Lord-chief-Justice Tindal, by himself in mezzotint. He also engraved a few portraits after Sir Thomas Lawrence, including one of the queen of Portugal. Lucas caught likenesses cleverly, but otherwise did not maintain his early promise as a painter. He married early in life Miss Milborough Morgan, and died at his residence in St. John's Wood, London, on 30 April 1874. He left three sons and two daughters. Of the former the eldest, John Templeton Lucas, is noticed below; William Lucas showed some promise as a mezzotint-engraver, but became a water-colour painter; and Arthur Lucas became an art publisher in New Bond Street, London. John Seymour Lucas, A.R.A., is nephew of the above, and was his pupil. The works in his possession at his death were disposed of by auction at Messrs. Christie, Manson, & Wood's, on 25 Feb. 1875.

Lucas, John Templeton (1836–1880), eldest son of the above, born in London in 1836, also practised as an artist, and exhibited seven landscapes at the Royal Academy,thirteen at the British Institution, and thirty at the Suffolk Street Gallery, between 1859 and 187(1. He published a farce entitled ' Browne the Martyr,' which was performed at the Royal Court Theatre (Lacy's acting edition, vol. xcvi.), and a little volume of fairy tales, entitled' Prince Ubbely Bubble's new Story Book' (1871, 8vo). Lucas published some memorial verses on the death of Sir Edwin Landseer. He died at Whitby, Yorkshire, in September 1880 (Times, 17 Sept.; Academy, 1880, ii. 221).

[Times. 6 May 1874; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists: Bryan's Dict. of Painters and Engravers, ed. Graves and Armstrong; L'Estrange's Life of Mary R. Mitford: Graves's Dict. of Artists; information from Arthur Lucas, esq., and G. Scharf. C.B., F.S.A.]

L. C.