Peake, Robert (DNB00)

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PEAKE, Sir ROBERT (1592?–1667), print-seller and royalist, born about 1592, was son of Robert Peake, serjeant-painter to James I. His father held the office of serjeant-painter conjointly with John De Critz the elder [q. v.], with remainder to John De Critz the younger, and John Maunchi (see Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1603–1610). His skill in oil-painting was extolled by Henry Peacham [q. v.] in his ‘Treatise on Limning and Painting.’ The father, who is described as a ‘picture-maker,’ was probably the author of many of the numerous portraits of James I which exist. In 1612 he was in the employment of Charles I, then Duke of York (see Walpole, Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum, p. 220). In 1613 he was employed by the university of Cambridge to paint a picture of Prince Charles, to celebrate the prince's visit to Cambridge and his taking the degree of master of arts on 4 March 1612–13; this portrait still hangs in the university library (see Collected Papers of Henry Bradshaw, ‘On the Collection of Portraits belonging to the University before the Civil War’). Among the elder Peake's pupils was William Faithorne the elder [q. v.] He probably died soon after the accession of Charles I, leaving two sons, William and Robert Peake, who became print-sellers on Snow Hill at a shop near Holborn Conduit, where they also dealt in pictures.

Robert Peake the younger published a number of engravings by Faithorne, who, after studying for three years under John Payne, returned to work under his former master's son. When the civil war broke out Peake took up arms on the royal side. He, Faithorne, and Wenceslaus Hollar [q. v.] the engraver were all among the besieged in Basing House, of which Peake acted as lieutenant-governor under the command of John Paulet, fifth marquis of Winchester [q. v.] Peake, then lieutenant-colonel, was knighted for his services by Charles I at Oxford on 28 March 1645. On the surrender of Basing House in October 1645 Peake was brought to London, and committed first to Winchester House, and then to Aldersgate. He was subsequently released, but exiled for refusing to take the oath of allegiance to Cromwell. After the Restoration Peake was appointed vice-president and leader of the Honourable Artillery Company under James, duke of York. He died in 1667, aged about 75, and was buried in St. Sepulchre's Church, London. A broadside ‘Panegyrick’ was published shortly after his death (Brit. Museum).

[Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Fagan's Cat. of Faithorne's Works; Vertue's Diaries (Brit. Mus. Harl. MSS. 5910, iv. 157).]

L. C.