1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Smirke, Robert
SMIRKE, ROBERT (1752–1845), English painter, was born at Wigton near Carlisle in 1752. In his thirteenth year he was apprenticed in London with an heraldic painter, and at the age of twenty he began to study in the schools of the Royal Academy, to whose exhibition he contributed in 1786 a “Narcissus” and a “Sabrina,” which were followed by many works, usually small in size, illustrative of the English poets, especially Thomson. In 1791 Smirke was elected an associate of the Royal Academy, and two years later a full member. In 1814 he was nominated keeper to the Academy, but the king refused to sanction the appointment on account of the artist’s revolutionary opinions. He was engaged upon the Shakespeare gallery, for which he painted “Katharina and Petruchio,” “Prince Henry and Falstaff” and other subjects. He also executed many clever and popular book-illustrations. His works, which are frequently humorous, are pleasing and graceful, accomplished in draughtsmanship and handled with considerable spirit. He died in London on the 5th of January 1845.