Rebecca, Biagio (DNB00)

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REBECCA, BIAGIO (1735–1808), painter and associate of the Royal Academy, born in 1735, was of Italian birth, and is stated to have first acquired skill in his art by painting fruit, to imitate that which he pilfered as a schoolboy. He became a student of the Royal Academy in 1769, and exhibited some historical subjects in the three following years. He was elected an associate in 1771. Rebecca painted portraits and historical subjects of little merit. He was, however, specially skilled in decorative painting, especially in the imitation of antique basso-relievos on ceilings, staircases, and panels in large houses. With Giovanni Battista Cipriani [q. v.], and later John Francis Rigaud, R.A. [q. v.], Rebecca obtained a large practice in this mode of decoration, which was much in vogue in the town and country mansions of the nobility and gentry at the end of the eighteenth century. The ceilings of the apartments of the Royal Academy were partly executed by him. He was also employed at Windsor Castle, where it is stated that his eccentricities and facetious freaks caused much amusement to the royal family. Rebecca died in London at his lodgings in Oxford Street on 22 Feb. 1808, aged 73.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Manuscript Memoir of J. F. Rigaud, R.A., by his Son; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1880.]

L. C.