White, Robert (1645-1703) (DNB00)

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WHITE, ROBERT (1645–1703), draughtsman and engraver, was born in London in 1645, and became a pupil of David Loggan [q. v.] He was the most esteemed and industrious portrait engraver of his time, and his plates, which number about four hundred, comprise most of the public and literary characters of the period. A large proportion of them were executed ad vivum, the rest from pictures by Lely, Kneller, Riley, Beale, and others, and they have always been greatly valued for their accuracy as likenesses. Of the plates engraved by White from his own drawings the best are the portraits of Prince George of Denmark, the Earl of Athlone, the Duke of Leeds, and the Earl of Seaforth; and the groups of the seven bishops, the bishops' council, the lords justices of England, and the Portsmouth captains who declared for King William. He engraved the plates to Sandford's account of the funeral of the Duke of Albemarle, 1670; the first Oxford 'Almanac,' 1674; a set of portraits of members of the Rawdon family; the plates to Gwillim's 'Heraldry' and Burnet's 'History of the Reformation,' and many book-titles and frontispieces. A few scarce mezzotint portraits of noblemen bear White's name as the publisher, and are assumed to have been executed by him. White was celebrated for his original portraits, which he drew in pencil on vellum with great delicacy and finish, in the manner of Loggan. He died in reduced circumstances in Bloomsbury Market, where he had long resided, in November 1703. A portrait of White was engraved by W. H. Worthington for Wornum's edition of Walpole's ' Anecdotes.'

George White (1684?-1732), mezzotint engraver, son of Robert, was born about 1684, and instructed by his father. He completed some of the plates left unfinished by the latter, and himself executed a few in the line manner; but, being deficient in industry, he at an early period turned to the less laborious method of mezzotint. A portrait of Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer, which he executed in this style from a painting by Kneller, was greatly admired and brought him much employment. He became the ablest mezzotint engraver that had yet appeared in England, and was the first to make use of the etched line to strengthen the work. White's plates number about sixty, of which the best are the portraits of William Dobson, George Hooper, bishop of St. Asaph, Tycho Wing, and 'Old' Parr. White, like his father, drew portraits in pencil on vellum with great success; he also practised in crayons, and latterly took to painting in oils. He died at his house in Bloomsbury on 27 May 1732. His plate of the 'Laughing Boy' after Hals, a masterly work, was published after his death, with laudatory verses.

[Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting; Vertue's Collections in Brit. Museum (Addit. MSS. 23072 f. 2, and 23076 f. 38) ; Dodd's manuscript Hist. of English Engravers, in Brit. Museum (Addit. MS. 33407); Chaloner Smith's British Mezzotinto Portraits.]

F. M. O'D.