Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Liverseege, Henry

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LIVERSEEGE, HENRY (1803–1832), painter, was born on 4 Sept. 1803 at Manchester, where his father was employed in a cotton-mill. Neglected by his father, he owed his early education to an uncle, and was encouraged to pursue the profession of an artist, for which he showed an early proclivity. His earliest attempts at painting were in portraiture, but he soon devoted himself to romantic or supernatural subjects. He also excelled as an amateur actor and was devoted to the stage. Some small pictures of ‘Banditti’ exhibited in Manchester in 1827 attracted notice, and about the end of that year he came to London to study at the British Museum, and also to copy the works of old masters at the British Institution. Through some informality in his application, he failed to obtain admission as a student of the Royal Academy. He returned to Manchester in 1828 and resumed portrait-painting, but in that year he exhibited at Birmingham ‘Hudibras in the Stocks,’ and at the Royal Academy in London, ‘Wildrake presenting Col. Everard's Challenge to Charles II’ (now in the possession of Mr. W. Barclay Squire). He visited London again in 1829, but in 1830 returned to Manchester, where his mother died. He paid one more visit to London, where he was patronised by the Duke of Devonshire. Liverseege suffered through life from ill-health, which produced a nervous and despondent manner; after returning to Manchester in 1831 his health completely broke down, and he died on 13 Jan. 1832, in his twenty-ninth year. He was buried in St. Luke's churchyard, Manchester.

Liverseege was a painter of some promise, and his small pictures have much dramatic force, though they show defects of drawing, and have not preserved their colour. Among the best were ‘The Recruit,’ ‘Catherine Seyton,’ ‘The Grave-diggers’ (engraved by S. Smith), ‘Captain Macheath in Prison,’ ‘Benedicite’ (purchased by Charles Heath and engraved in ‘The Keepsake,’ 1833), and ‘Don Quixote reading in his Study.’ A set of thirty-five mezzotint engravings from his pictures was published in 1875, with a portrait engraved from a painting by his friend William Bradley. Another portrait appeared in Arnold's ‘Library of the Fine Arts’ for February 1832.

[Arnold's Library of the Fine Arts, iii. 147; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; biography prefixed to Engravings from the Works of Henry Liverseege.]

L. C.