Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Brooking, Charles

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BROOKING, CHARLES (1723–1759), marine painter, was 'bred in some department in the dockyard at Deptford, but practised as a ship painter, in which he certainly excelled all his countrymen.' This is the account given by Edwards of a painter of whom now there is little to be known. Hewas a friend of Dominic Serres. An anecdote told by that artist to Edwards shows that Brooking, like many painters then and now, was in the hands of dealers. They would not allow him to sign his works, and through that prohibition it happened that he found a private patron only when patronage could do him no good. 'He painted sea-views and sea-fights, which showed an extensive knowledge of naval tactics; his colour was bright and clear, his water pellucid, his manner broad and spirited.' By his death, according to the opinion of his time, a painter was lost who promised to stand in the highest rank. In the Foundling Hospital a fine picture of his is preserved. Godfrey, Ravenet, Canot, and Boydell have engraved his works. He owed his death to his doctor, and was slain, in his thirty-sixth year, by 'injudicious medical advice, given to remove a perpetual headache.' He left his family destitute.

[Edwards's Anecdotes of Painters; Works of Edward Dayes; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists of Eng. School; Bryan's Dict. of Painters, ed. Graves.]

E. R.