A Dictionary of Artists of the English School/A
ABBOT, J. W., amateur. Practised about 1760. He drew landscapes in the manner of Peter de Laer. He also painted insects, and there is a small etching by him of some merit. He was honorary exhibitor of landscapes with cattle and figures at the Academy from 1793 to 1810. A landscape and cattle in oil, exhibited 1794, received great contemporary praise.
ABBOT, Henry, landscape painter. Practised in London. Drew in 1818 views of the chief Roman ruins, with the panoramic environs of Rome, which he published.
ABBOTT, Edward, landscape painter. Lived many years in Long Acre, where he was eminent as a herald and coach painter. He also painted landscapes in a pleasing manner, and travelled in France and Italy with Wynne Ryland, the engraver. In 1782 he retired to Hereford, where he practised as an artist, and died, after a long illness, November 11, 1791, in his 64th year.
ABBOTT, Francis Lemuel, portrait painter. Born 1760, in Leicestershire. Son of a clergyman in that county. At the age of 14 he became the pupil of Frank Hayman, who dying two years after, he returned to his parents, and by his own perseverance attained the power of taking a correct likeness. About 1780 he settled in London, and gained reputation and employment. He first exhibited his portraits at the Academy in 1788, again in the following year, and then not till 1798. He exhibited the last time in 1800. Lord Nelson sat to him several times; and his practice greatly increasing, he would not, as was then the custom, employ an assistant. He was overwhelmed with engagements which he could not complete, and that anxiety, added to the domestic disquiet arising from an ill-assorted marriage, brought on insanity, which terminated his life early in 1893. His portraits have been engraved by Valentine Green, Skelton, Walker, and others. There is a half-length portrait of Nelson by him in the gallery at Greenwich Hospital, and a whole-length of Admiral Sir Peter Parker. His merits were limited to the head; his male portraits, in particular, were perfect in resemblance, and the finish well studied, but his figures were insipid, and his backgrounds weak and tasteless.
ABEL, John, architect. Practised with some distinction in the reigns of Charles I. and II. The Town Hall and Market House at Hereford (1618–20), at Brecon, and at Weobly, are from his design, as also the School-house at Kington and at Leominster, 1663. These buildings were handsome erections in wood, showing much constructive ability; but where they remain, repairs and alterations have deprived them of their original character. He held the appointment as one of Charles I.'s carpenters. He died 1694, aged 97, and was buried at Snaresfield, Herefordshire, where on his tomb he is styled 'architect.'
ABEL, Richard, medallist. He was a goldsmith, and was in the 27th Henry III. nominated 'to be maker and cutter of the money dies.'
ABERRY, —, engraver. He is only known by an etched portrait of Sir W. W. Wynne, after Hudson, 1753.
ABRAHAM, Robert, architect. Born 1774. Was the son of a builder, and educated as a surveyor. In the early part of his career he found employment in measuring builders' work and settling their accounts, and later in life was much engaged in valuations. When, following the peace of 1815, some impetus was given to Metropolitan architecture, he was engaged as an architect, and his works, if not of great architectural merit, showed a fitness of character and adaptation of material. Among the chief were the Jews' Synagogue, near the Haymarket, the County Fire Office, and the Westminster Bridewell. He died Dec. 11, 1850, aged 77.
ADAM, William, architect. Held the appointment of king's mason at Edinburgh, where he practised his profession with much repute. Hopetoun House and the Royal Infirmary in that city are examples of his ability, as also the New Library and University at Glasgow. He died June 24, 1748. The three Adams of the Adelphi were his sons.
ADAM. Robert, architect. Born 1728, at Kirkaldy, Fifeshire. Son of the above William Adam. He was educated at the Edinburgh University, and formed friendships with several men who became distinguished. In the study of his art he visited Italy about 1754. He took with him Clérisseau, a clever draftsman, and remained some time. On his return he soon rose to professional eminence, and in 1762 was appointed architect to the king, but resigned that office to become candidate for Kinrosshire, for which county he was elected representative in 1768. At this time, in conjunction with his brother James, he commenced the great work on the shores of the Thames with which his name is associated. His plans were unsuccessfully opposed by the Corporation of London, as an encroachment upon their privileges. He raised the shore by a succession of arches, and on them erected three fine streets and a terrace fronting the Thames, naming this work, in memory of himself and his two brothers, the 'Adelphi.' It was not, however, successful as a speculation, and in 1774, under the sanction of an Act of Parliament, he disposed of the whole by lottery. Among his works may be named—The façade of the Admiralty, Whitehall; Lansdowne House, Berkeley Square; Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire; Caen Wood House, near Hampstead; Osterley House, near Brentford; Kidleston, Derbyshire; Compton Verney, Warwickshire; and the General Register House, Edinburgh. He was largely employed in the alteration of many fine mansions, and showed great ability in the arrangement and decoration of interiors, displaying a pleasing variety in the form and proportion of his apartments, and a comfort and elegance not studied by his predecessors. He also designed ornamental furniture. His style was original—in taste approaching prettiness, but was highly popular in his day, and has left a character which is still known as his. He painted many good landscape compositions in water-colours. He published a work on the Ruins of Diocletian's Palace, 1764, and, with his brother James, commenced in 1773 'The Works in Architecture of R. and J. Adam.' He was F.R.S. and F.S.A. He died, from the bursting of a blood-vessel, at his house in Albemarle Street, March 3, 1792, and was buried in the south aisle of Westminster Abbey. His journal of his tour in Italy, 1760-61, was published in the Library of the Fine Arts.
ADAM, James, architect. Younger brother of the preceding, and connected with him in most of his works. He held the office of architect to the king, and was himself the architect of the spacious range of buildings named Portland Place. He published a treatise on architecture, and was engaged upon a history of architecture which he did not live to finish. He died, in Albemarle Street, of an apoplectic attack, October 20, 1794.
ADAM, John, engraver. He practised in London towards the end of the 18th Century, and engraved in the chalk manner portraits for periodical works. The portraits in Caulfield's 'History of Remarkable Characters' are engraved by him, but possess little merit. There are also by him portraits of Queen Elizabeth and Dudley, Earl of Leicester, after drawings by Zucchero.
ADAMS, Robert, architect. Born in London, 1540. Was surveyor to the Board of Works and architect to Queen Elizabeth. A large plan of Middleburgh by him is extant, dated 1588; also a pen-and-ink drawing, styled 'Tamesis descriptio,' showing how the river may be defended by artillery from Tilbury to London, with representations of several actions while the Spanish Armada was off the British coast. These latter were engraved, and Walpole assumes that they were engraved by him, and styles him an engraver. Dallaway says they were engraved by Augustine Ryther, of which there seems little doubt. He translated from the Italian into Latin Ubaldini's account of the defeat of the Spanish Armada. He died in 1595, and was buried in Greenwich Church, where a tablet describes him as 'Operum regiorum supervisori, architecturæ peritissimo.'
ADAMS, Bernard, architect. Practised in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when his name often appears, but of his works no particulars are recorded.
ADAMS, Francis E., engraver. He received a premium from the Society of Arts in 1760. Produced some portraits in mezzotint about 1774, but did not attain any excellence in his art. A satirical print of a young girl, dressed quite à la mode,' whose mother does not know her (1773), is well drawn and tolerably finished.
ADAMS, Frances Matilda, flower painter. Was water-colour painter extraordinary to Queen Adelaide, and exhibited at the Royal Academy for several years from 1816. She died October 24, 1863, aged 79.
ADAMS, James, architect. Was a pupil of Sir John Soane, and gained the Royal Academy gold medal for an architectural design, 1809. In 1818 he was residing at Portsmouth, and exhibited the view of a Dispensary erected at Plymouth Dock and the additions made to Mount Edgecumbe House. In the following year he exhibited the interior of St Thomas's Church, Portsmouth, after which the catalogue affords no trace of him.
ADYE, Thomas, sculptor. He was appointed sculptor to the Dilettanti Society in 1737, and between that date and 1744 executed several little commissions for the Society, chiefly for carvings in ivory.
AGAR, D., portrait painter. Practised about the beginning of the 18th century. Faithorne engraved after him.
AGAR, John Samuel, engraver. Produced some excellent works in the stipple or chalk manner, and also drew some portraits. He exhibited portraits and an occasional subject at the Royal Academy, commencing in 1796 up to 1806, and 'The Tribute Money' at the British Institution in 1810. He was, in 1803, governor of the Society of Engravers, and was living in 1820.
AGASSE, James Laurent, animal and landscape painter. Born at Geneva, and studied there as an animal painter. In 1800 he pleased an English traveller by a portrait of his dog, and was induced by him to come to London, where he settled. In 1801 he appears as an exhibitor, at the Academy, of the 'Portrait of a Horse,' followed by a 'Rustic Repast,' 'Race-ground,' 'Portrait of a Lady,' 'Market-day,' &c. Then, in 1842, after an interval of 10 years, he sent a 'Fishmonger's Shop,' and contributed one work in each of the three following years. Several of his works were engraved, among them six landscapes. He was of independent, unconciliating manners; lived poor and died poor about 1846.
AGGAS, Ralph, draftsman and surveyor. Said to have been born in Suffolk about 1540. He practised 1560-89, and was distinguished by his maps of the principal cities of the realm. They are bird's-eye views, representing in the margins the principal structures. Cambridge, published 1578, was the earliest; 10 years later, Oxford, surrounded with the views of the colleges, the arms, and other objects of interest. He also made a survey of London and Westminster, and produced a large plan and view on wood (subsequently repeated on pewter); but he could not obtain permission to publish it—probably from political reasons—till the accession of James I., to whom it is dedicated. He died about 1617. He has been designated the engraver of the plans, but on one of them he is is called 'Autore,' and the engraving was more probably the work of Ryther. His maps have been many times repeated, and are the authority adopted by all subsequent antiquarian writers.
AGGAS, Robert, landscape and scene painter. A descendant of the foregoing. Was a good landscape painter both in oil and tempera, and skilled in the introduction of architecture, he was much employed by Charles II., and gained a reputation as scene painter for the theatre at Dorset Garden. He was also employed at the Blackfriars and Phoenix Theatres. In the Painter-Stainers' Hall there is preserved a landscape by him. He died in London in 1679, aged about 60.
AGLIO, Augustine, subject painter and decorator. He was born at Cremona, Dec. 15, 1777, and was educated at the College of St Alessandro, Milan, where he was one of the most distinguished pupils. He studied the various branches at the Academy Brera, and in 1797 practised landscape painting at Rome, where he was introduced to Mr. Wilkins, R.A., with whom he travelled in Italy, Greece, and Egypt, and employed himself in sketching the antiquities of those countries. In 1802 he returned to Rome, and in December of the following year came to England on the invitation of Mr. Wilkins, whom he at once joined at Cambridge, and whose 'Magna Græcia' he was employed to complete in aqua-tint.
In 1804 he was engaged in the scene-room of the Opera House, and in 1806 at the Drury Lane Theatre, and was then largely employed in the decorations of some important mansions, and visited Ireland, where he painted twelve pictures of Killarney. In 1811 he decorated the Pantheon in Oxford Street, and in 1819, in fresco, the ceiling of the Roman Catholic Chapel in Moorfields, where he also executed the altarpiece. He also drew many works in lithography, and his 'Mexican Antiquities,' which were announced in ten volumes, though only nine were published—1830–48. About 1820 he produced many easel pictures. He exhibited at Suffolk Street between 1825 and 1856, and at the Royal Academy between 1830 and 1846. To the Westminster Hall Exhibition he sent a large landscape, with figures in fresco. In 1844 and in 1847, 'Rebecca,' a large oil picture. One of his last works was the decoration of the Olympic Theatre. He painted two portraits of the Queen, which, with some other works, were engraved. After a long earnest life spent in the pursuit of art he died Jan. 30, 1857, in his 80th year, and was buried in Highgate Cemetery.
AIKIN, Edmund, architect. Son of Dr. John Aikin. Was born at Warrington, October 2, 1780. He was assistant to General Sir Samuel Bentham, R.E., who was the architect of the General Penitentiary at Millbank. About 1814 he resided some time at Liverpool, while superintending there the erection of the Assembly Rooms, and designed several buildings in that borough, and later the Presbyterian Chapel in Jewin Street, London. He wrote several professional papers and essays, among them the account of St. Paul's Cathedral, published with Britton's engravings of that edifice, and some of the earlier architectural articles in Rees's 'Encyclopædia;' and also, in 1808, published 'Designs for Villas.' He was from 1800 to 1814 an occasional exhibitor of architectural designs at the Royal Academy. He died at Stoke Newington, March 13, 1820.
AIKMAN, William, portrait painter. Born at Cairney, Forfarshire, October 24, 1682, only son of a member of the Scotch bar, of good family, who designed him also for the law. But he was attracted to art, and so soon as he was at liberty left the study of law, and turning to art placed himself under Sir John Medina, with whom he continued three years. Then he sold his paternal estate in Forfarshire, and in 1707 went to Rome, where he studied till 1710. He next travelled to Constantinople and Smyrna, and returning by Rome and Florence, reached Scotland in 1712. He succeeded to some employment on the death of Sir John Medina, and practised for about 13 years in Edinburgh with great success. He was induced, in 1723, to come to London, where he settled and became acquainted, among other artists, with Kneller, whose manner he imitated. He was much employed. His works were weak but pleasing, not showing much original invention. Several of his full-length portraits are at Blickling, Norfolk. He had commenced a large picture of the royal family in three compartments, but the third, containing the half-length portrait of the king, was unfinished at his death. This picture is in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire. Many of his portraits have been engraved, and two portrait etchings by his hand are known. He was reputed a good judge of pictures, and while in Italy was employed to purchase for the Duke of Kingston. He died in Leicester Square, June 7, 1731, it is said of excessive grief for the loss of an only son, and both were removed to Scotland together and buried in one grave, in the Greyfriars' Church, Edinburgh. He left two daughters. His friend Mallet wrote his epitaph and Thomson bewailed his loss in verse. He was intimate with many of the most distinguished men of his time.
AIKMAN, John, draftsman. Born 1713; only son of the foregoing. He had early shown much promise of future excellence in art. There are a few studies etched by him after Vandyke, two or more on a plate, but they are rare. He died at the age of 18, in 1731.
ALBIN, Eleazar, draftsman and naturalist. Was of German origin, and changed his family name of Weiss to its latinised translation, Albinus. A student of natural history, he made able drawings, and engraved and coloured them with his own hand. His 'History of English Insects' is a great example of laborious perseverance. It was published in 1720. He explains, in his preface, that teaching to draw in water-colours is his profession, that the beautiful colours of flowers and insects led him to paint them, and that, becoming acquainted with some eminent naturalists, he was much employed by them. He published a 'Natural History of Birds,' comprising 306 plates of birds drawn from life, a work on spiders, and a history of fishes, but in this last work he was assisted in the engraving by Basire, James Smith, and others. His insects are marked by great truth. He does not seem to have received the encouragement he so well deserved, for he says his subscriptions came in slowly, and that having a large family to provide for, his circumstances retarded his work. He practised 1720-40.
ALCOCK, John, D. D., amateur. Born at Beverley about 1453. Was educated at Cambridge, was preceptor to Edward, Prince of Wales, and successively Bishop of Rochester, Worcester, and Ely. He was also a privy-councillor, ambassador to the Court of Spain, and filled several high offices in the State. He was distinguished as one of the greatest architects of his time. He designed the spacious hall belonging to the Episcopal Palace at Ely, and made great architectural improvement there and in his other sees. He planned the conversion of the old nunnery of St. Radegund at Cambridge into Jesus College. He was appointed joint surveyor of the royal works and buildings in the reign of Henry VIII. Died at Wisbeach, October 1, 1500.
ALDRICH, Henry, amateur. Dean of Christ Church, Oxon. Born at Westminster 1647. He had much skill in architecture, for which he had cultivated a taste during a long residence in Italy. He designed the quadrangle at Oxford, named Peckwater Square, the chapel of Trinity College, the church of All Saints, and the garden front of Corpus Christi. He wrote a series of lectures called 'The Elements of Civil Architecture,' published many years after his death (1789). He was a man of great knowledge and varied acquirements, a classic and scriptural scholar, and withal a good musician; the composer of 'A Smoking Catch' and the favourite 'Hark, the bonny bonny Christ Church Bells!' which he published in his 'Pleasant Musical Companion.' He was also the author of several learned works. Died at Oxford, December 14, 1710.
ALEFOUNDER, John, portrait and miniature painter. Was a student in the Royal Academy, and in 1782 gained a silver medal. He first exhibited, in 1777, an architectural design, in the following year a portrait in chalk, and then practised in miniature, occasionally in chalk and oil, and in 1784 he exhibited some theatrical Portraits and portrait groups. Soon after he went to India, where he realised some property by the practice of his art. He sent a portrait from Calcutta to the Academy Exhibition in 1794, and suffering from the effects of the climate, died there in the following year. A portrait by him of 'Peter the Wild Boy' was engraved by Bartolozzi in 1784, and of 'Edwin the Actor' by C. N. Hodges in the same year. An oil portrait by him of John Shipley is at the Society of Arts.
ALEXANDER, Sir Anthony, Knight, architect. Son of Alexander, Earl of Stirling. Was master of the king's works in Scotland in the reign of Charles I. He died in London, August 1637, and was buried at Stirling.
ALEXANDER, John, portrait and history painter. Was born in Scotland, the son of a minister of the Scotch Kirk, and was the pupil and son-in-law of Alexander Jamesone, a descendant of George Jamesone. He was educated in Italy, spent some time in Florence, and in 1716 was in Rome, where he devoted himself to the study of Raphael's works. On his return to Scotland in 1720; he painted portraits and several historical pictures. The 'Rape of Proserpine,' on the staircase of Gordon Castle, was by him. He copied, or invented, several portraits of Mary Queen of Scots. While in Rome he etched in a coarse but effective manner six plates after Raphael.
ALEXANDER, Cosmo, portrait painter. Practised in Edinburgh about 1750. A portrait by him of the provost of that city was engraved in 1752. His portrait of General Dalziell is also engraved. In 1766 he was a member of the Incorporated Society of Artists in London. Gibbs, the architect, left him his house, with all his furniture, pictures, busts, &c. He went to America when between 50 and 60 years of age, and in 1772 was painting portraits in Rhode Island, but he eventually returned to Scotland, and shortly after his arrival died in Edinburgh.
ALEXANDER, William, water-colour painter. Born at Maidstone, April 10, 1767. Son of a coach-maker in the town, and educated at the Grammar School there. Came to London at the age of 15 to study as an artist, and was placed under William Pars, then under Ibbetson, and in 1784 was admitted student of the Royal Academy. In 1792 he accompanied Lord Macartney's mission to China as draftsman, and remaining during the journey to the northern frontier, returned with the mission in 1794. He married in the following year, but the loss of his wife shortly afterwards left a lasting impression on his character. In 1802 he was appointed professor of drawing to the Royal Military College, Great Marlow, an office he resigned in 1808 on his appointment as assistant-keeper of the antiquities in the British Museum, and afterwards was appointed, on the creation of the office, keeper of the prints and drawings. His drawings were engraved for the illustration of Sir George Staunton's account of the Chinese embassy, published in 1797. In 1798 he published himself some drawings made in China, of headlands, islands, and other views; and in the same year he made finished drawings from Daniell's sketches, illustrating Vancouver's voyage to the North Pacific. He also illustrated Barrow's 'Travels in China,' published 1804, and his 'Cochin China,' 1806. In 1805 he published his 'Costumes of China.' He was also employed as draftsman to the department of antiquities, British Museum, and made the drawings for the engravings from the terra cottas and marbles in the Museum, published by the trustees in 1810, 1812, and 1815. He also drew many of the views for the 'Beauties of Great Britain,' and for Britton's 'Architectural Antiquities.' He died of a brain fever at Maidstone, July 23, 1816, and was buried in the neighbouring village of Boxley. He was a good draftsman and colourist. His drawings are minutely finished, and evince great accuracy. His early drawings are executed with the pen, shaded in India ink and tinted; his figures well introduced; his architectural details, as shown in the 'Britannia Depicta,' minutely traced. He published, 1798-1805, a masterly collection of his etchings, illustrative of Chinese life and character; and in 1837 a short journal of a visit he paid to the old seat of Cotton the angler was published in lithograph facsimile. He was a man of cultivated tastes, an artist, antiquary, and connoisseur.
ALEXANDER, Daniel Asher, architect. Was born in London, 1768, and educated at St. Paul's School, London. In 1782 he was admitted a student of the Royal Academy, and on the completion of his professional education was early called into important and responsible practice. In 1796 he was appointed surveyor to the London Dock Company, the principal buildings of which are by him. He built the military prison at Dartmoor, now used for convicts; the old county prison at Maidstone, the Royal Naval Asylum at Greenwich, the London Docks, several lighthouses, and was employed on additions and alterations to Longford Castle, Wilts; Beddington House, Surrey; Coleshill, Berks; and Combebank, Kent. His designs were marked by appropriateness, his knowledge of construction great, and his work finished with great attention to detail. He had retired from his profession to Exeter, and died there March 2, 1846, aged 78. His eldest son for some time practised as his assistant, but he left the profession in 1820 to enter the Church, and died in 1843.
ALIAMET, Francis Germain, engraver. Brother to the celebrated French engraver. Born at Abbeville 1734. He studied at Lisle and then at Paris, but came to London when young. He received a Society of Arts' premium in 1764, and completing his studies under Strange, settled here, and found employment in engraving portraits for the publishers. He finished with great care and accuracy. He engraved a 'Circumcision' after Guido, on a large scale, for Alderman Boydell; also plates after Caracci, Le Sœur, Watteau, Edge Pine, and others. He was accidentally killed February 5, 1790.
ALKEN, Samuel, aqua-tint engraver. Practised his art in London towards the end of the 18th century. He had probably some instruction in architecture, and in 1780 exhibited an architectural design. He produced many views in Great Britain and Ireland, chiefly for the illustration of topographical works, and carried the art of aqua-tint to very high perfection. He designed and etched 'A New Book of Ornaments.' He published, in 1796, 'Views in Cumberland and Westmoreland,' and aqua-tint views in North Wales in 1798.
ALKEN, Henry, draftsman and engraver. He was well known by his numerous facile delineations, sometimes humorous in character, of field-sports, races, and games. He published 'The Beauties and Defects of the Figure of the Horse,' 1816; 'Scraps from his Sketch-Book,' 1821; 'Symptoms of being Amused,' 1822; 'Illustrations of Popular Songs,' 1823; 'The Art and Practice of Etching,' 1849; 'Jorrock's Jaunts and Jollitie,' 1869.
ALLAN, David (called the Scotch Hogarth), portrait and history painter, was born at Alloa, near Edinburgh, where his father held the office of shore-master, February 13, 1744. His childhood was marked by troubles; his genius first shown by chance. In 1755 he was apprenticed to Messrs. Foulis, and studied his art in their academy at Glasgow. Then, assisted by some friends, he set off for Italy in 1764, and remained in that country nearly 14 years, studying and copying from the old masters. He sent home two historical pictures for exhibition at the Royal Acaemy in 1771, and at Rome in 1773 he gained the prize medal of the Academy of St. Luke for his historical composition, 'The Corinthian Maid drawing the Shadow of her Lover.' Returning in 1777 he resided in London till 1780, supporting himself by portrait painting. Four drawings which he made at Rome during the Carnival, introducing portraits with much humour and character, were engraved in aqua-tint by Paul Sandby, and published in 1781. He then settled in Edinburgh, where he met with much patronage, and on a vacancy in 1786 was appointed master and director of the Edinburgh Academy of Arts. He etched in a free style the illustrations for Tassie's 'Catalogue of Engraved Gems,' comprising 57 plates, with from seven to nine examples each. They have a frontispiece designed and etched by him, dated 1788. In the same year he illustrated by engravings an edition of the 'Gentle Shepherd,' and in 1798 he etched some characteristic designs, small oval size, for the 'Songs of the Lowlands of Scotland.' He also amused himself with etching, sometimes combined with mezzo-tint, chiefly scenes from cottage life. He was admired for the natural truth of his works and the character and expression of his subjects from low life. His art did not aim at either beauty or grace. He will be remembered by his 'Scotch Wedding,' 'Highland Dame,' 'Repentance Stool,' and his designs for the 'Gentle Shepherd.' He died near Edinburgh, August 6, 1796, leaving a widow with a son and daughter. His portrait, painted by himself, hangs in the National Gallery of Scotland.
ALLAN, Sir William, Knt., P.R.S.A. and R.A., subject and history painter, limner to the Queen in Scotland. He was born in 1782, in Edinburgh, where his father held the humble office of macer to the Court of Session, and was educated at the High School. He made little progress in classic knowledge, but showed a fancy for drawing, to gratify which he was apprenticed to a coach painter, and proving to have a taste for decoration was sent for his further improvement to the Trustees' Academy, where, after several years' study, he developed a taste for art, and then came to London and entered the schools of the Royal Academy. Struck with the works of Opie, he imitated his manner, and in 1803 exhibited his first picture, 'A Gipsy Boy with an Ass'. But failing to gain notice, he set off the same year for Russia, with no other apparent inducement than the love of travel and the desire to seek his fortune. Driven into Memel by a storm, his means were soon exhausted, and he painted a few portraits to enable him to make his way to St. Petersburg, where he found friends, and was assisted by his countryman, Sir Alexander Crichton, then the Court physician.
Having made some study of the language, he visited Tartary and Turkey, sketching the costume and studying the manners of the Cossacks, Circassians, and Tartars. He sent home to the Academy Exhibition of 1809, 'Russian Peasants keeping Holiday,' but his picture did not receive much notice, and, disappointed, he did not exhibit again for several years. In 1812 he had made up his mind to return, but Napoleon's great campaign, the horrors of which he witnessed, prevented him, and he did not reach Scotland till 1814. Then, settling in Edinburgh, he sent to the Academy in London the following spring his 'Circassian Captives,' and in 1816 a work of the same class, 'The Sale of Two Boys by a Chief of the Black Sea,' an incident he had witnessed; and in 1817 another Circassian subject. But these works were unsold, and he was disappointed beyond hope. He was, however, befriended by Sir Walter Scott, who got up a lottery for the sale of his 'Circassian Captives,' and induced him to remain in Edinburgh. Here he painted 'Tartar Robbers dividing their Spoil,' and then tried another class of subjects, 'The Press Gang,' 'The Parting between Prince Charles Stuart and Flora Macdonald,' 'Jeannie Deans and her Father;' yet these works did not justify the expectations he had raised among his friends. He again desponded, Sir Walter came once more to his help, encouraged him to paint a sketch he had made of the 'Murder of Archbishop Sharpe,' and found a purchaser for it when finished. With renewed hope he then painted 'John Knox reproving Mary, Queen of Scots,' which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1823, followed by 'Ruthven forcing Mary to sign her Abdication,' and 'The Regent Murray shot by Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh,' which last was purchased by the Duke of Bedford for 800 guineas, and gained the artist the distinction of Associate of the Royal Academy in 1825. In 1826 he was appointed master of the Trustees' School, Edinburgh, an office he held till only a few years before his death.
Though he did not want energy, and persevered in his work without flagging, he scarcely maintained the reputation he lad gained, and his labours and anxieties began to tell upon him. He was attacked by a complaint which threatened blindness, and was compelled to take rest. He went to Italy, and after spending a winter at Rome journeyed on to Naples, and from thence to Constantinople, Asia Minor, and Greece. In 1830 he returned to Edinburgh, restored to health, and was successful in a small portrait work of 'Sir Walter Scott in his Study,' now in the National Portrait Gallery, which became a favourite, and was well engraved by Burnet; as also in a companion picture, exhibited in 1833 under the title of 'The Orphan,' representing Ann Scott on the floor, close to her father's vacant chair in his studio at Abbotsford, which was purchased by Queen Adelaide. In 1834 he again travelled, visiting Spain, and subsequently France and Belgium. On his return in 1835 he was elected a royal academician, and in 1838 the president of the Royal Scottish Academy. In 1841 he succeeded to the office of limner to the Queen in Scotland, which was accompanied, as had been usual, by knighthood.
He had returned to his Siberian subjects, and exhibited yearly at the Academy, when in 1843 he completed a work he had long contemplated, 'The Battle of Waterloo from the French side.' This was admired by the Duke of Wellington, who became its purchaser. His last great completed work was a second picture of this battle from the English side. It was painted in competition for the decorations of the palace at Westminster in 1846, but was unsuccessful, and he had the further disappointment that it remained unsold. He had always retained a pleasant recollection of the kindness of his friends in St. Petersburg, and in 1844 he revisited that capital, and painted for the emperor 'Peter the Great teaching his Subjects the Art of Ship-building.' The effects of hard travel and a life of hard labour and anxiety now began to tell upon him. He suffered from bronchitis, and had been for some time at work upon a large canvas on 'The Battle of Bannockburn.' His weakness increased, but he did not relax, and removing his bed to his painting-room he continued his work; and here, with his unfinished picture before him, he died in Edinburgh, February 23, 1850. His picture has found an appropriate place in the National Gallery of Scotland, and he will not fail to be remembered among the painters of his country. He represented the costumes and characters of countries then little known, and connected them with kindred subjects of great interest, and painted many subjects and incidents with equal success from the history of his own country. His stories were well told and well composed, his choice of subjects good; but his pictures were wanting in power, and were crude and weak in colour. His merit did not find early recognition, and distinctions and honours were delayed till near the end of his active career. He was gifted with much natural humour, a clever mimic, at all times an agreeable companion, and possessed the friendship of many of the most distinguished of his countrymen.
ALLASON, Thomas, architect. Born in London, July 31, 1790. Was placed in an architect's office, and entered as a student at the Royal Academy, where he gained a silver medal, and in 1805 exhibited a design for a college. He studied Grecian architecture, and in 1814 made a tour in Greece. On his return in 1817 he established himself in London, and was much employed both in buildings, furniture, and landscape gardening. Many villas and mansions were erected after his designs—perhaps the Alliance Fire Office, in Bartholomew Lane, may be pointed to as his chief work. He died April 9, 1852, in his 62nd year. He began life dependent upon his own exertions. He was conspicuous for good taste, and independently shaped his own useful career. He published 'Plan of a House of Industry,' 1805; 'Picturesque Views of the Antiquities of Pola, in Istria' 1819; and a clever etching of Milan Cathedral.
ALLEN, Andrew, portrait painter. Supposed of Scotch origin. Practised with some repute in Edinburgh about 1730. A portrait by him of one of the Lords of Session is engraved, as is also his own portrait.
ALLEN, James B., engraver. Born in Birmingham, April 18, 1803. He was apprenticed to his brother, Mr. Josiah Allen, of Colmore Row, Birmingham, to learn his art. He went to London, however, before he had finished his time, and was employed many years in engraving for the Bank of England. He executed many works for the 'Art Journal' and other periodicals. His best engravings are after landscape subjects. He died in London, January 10, 1876.
ALLEN, Joseph, portrait painter. Born at Birmingham, and early found employment in painting Japanned tea-trays, which it was then the fashion to decorate with pictures. Having some feeling for art, he came to London and obtained admission as student at the Royal Academy, with the resolution to attempt history, but he was compelled to descend to portrait, and in this did not meet with success. He next was induced to try Wrexham, where he settled, and found a lucrative practice by visiting Manchester, Preston, Lancaster, and other large towns in the north, where he established a connection. This last success tempted him again to try the Metropolis, but he again failed to secure notice; and being advanced in life, he broke up his establishment and retired to Erdington, near Birmingham, in easy circumstances, and died there November 19, 1839, aged 70. His portraits were carefully painted, tender and pleasing in character, but not of any high merit.
ALLEN, John, architect. He practised in England, with much repute, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. His descendants settled in Ireland, where his grandson, Joshua Allen, following his profession, was employed by many of the nobility, became lord mayor of Dublin, and was knighted.
ALLEN, George, architect. Was born at Brentford, April 14, 1798. Studied at the Royal Academy, and was a pupil of James Elmes. He published, in 1828, 'Plans and Designs for the future Approaches to the New London Bridge,' and found much professional employment on the South wark side of the river. He died June 28, 1847.
ALLEN, Joseph W., landscape painter. Was born in Lambeth, the son of a schoolmaster, and educated at St. Paul's School. For a time he found employment as an usher in an academy at Taunton, but a love of art prevailing, he came to London to gain a living as an artist. His early practice was in water-colours—views in Cheshire and North Wales—but latterly chiefly in oil. He was first employed by a dealer, afterwards assisted as a scene painter, and many of the scenes at the Olympic during Madame Vestris's first management were by him. He became a member of the Society of British Artists, and was for a time vice-president, and a large contributor of landscapes to the exhibitions, chiefly of views in Surrey, and some compositions. His 'Vale of Clwyd,' 1842, gained him much notice, and was purchased for 300 guineas as an Art Union prize. His works were of some merit, but the anxieties to provide for a large family were hindrances to art; and though his subjects were well chosen, and not without artistic feeling, they were crude and unfinished. He was also engaged as a teacher in the City of London School. He sketched landscapes on copper with some skill. He died in August, 1852, aged about 48, leaving a widow and a large family, to make some provision for whom a subscription was raised among his friends.
ALLEN, James C., engraver. Was born in London, the son of a Smithfield salesman, and apprenticed to William Cooke, for whom he worked many years after the termination of his apprenticeship, and was much employed on book illustration. In 1821 he published, with Mr. Cooke, 15 views of the interior and exterior of the Coliseum at Rome, well engraved in the line manner; and in 1831 a spirited plate
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